Mahamaya will not be able to affect us as long as we are under the protection of Sri Krsna and His Yogamaya potency. Krsna is atmarama (self-satisfied) and aptakama (all His desires are automatically fulfilled). Within His heart there is no material lust nor is it possible for Him to be affected by it. Seeing Krsna, Kamadeva himself becomes bewildered and conquered by Him, and becomes completely satisfied. So how is it possible for him to affect anyone under the Lord’s protection? A person can become completely crazy because of material hunger and thirst, but if someone is completely satisfied, then how can he be disturbed? Once a person has fallen under the control of Kamadeva’s ‘pain of lust’, his senses will enjoy him and make him restless. He will think to enjoy his senses is the highest path, and the only process through which he can be happy.
HOW TO BECOME FREE OF LUST
Krsna is manmatha, the original cupid, or attractor who churns the hearts. He is atmarama (self-satisfied) and aptakama(all His desires are automatically fulfilled) and that person who takes His shelter will also become atmarama. No material tendency can touch Krsna. Sridhara Swami gave many evidences of this fact. This rasa-lila is the method to defeat one’s lust. For those who take shelter of Krsna’s transcendental rasa, no kind of material lust will be able to enter their hearts. That person will always be happy and will always be engaged in Bhagavan’s Divine loving service. He will obtain the spiritual potency to always be thus engaged.
On the night of the Rāsa dance, Sri Krsna called the Gopis to the forest for their benefit. When devotees see Krsna, remember Him, and bring Him into their hearts, Krsna’s sakti at once destroys all their material desires. By calling the Gopis to Him, Krsna gave them spiritual potency, so that their senses, minds, bodies, or even other people, would not be able to influence them. Krsna shows us that this is the method to free ourselves from lust, not only in this life, but in any future lives. If we follow the teachings of the rasa-lila, material lust will never be able to touch us. Kamadeva, cupid, thought he would come and disturb Krsna and the gopis, but when he saw Krsna, he became conquered himself, senseless, and at the same time completely satisfied. In Vraja, Kamadeva could not disturb anyone. What did Krsna do? In the beginning of rasa-lila, Krsna spoke with the Gopis, and during His conversation with them He gave them His spiritual energy, making them perfect and complete by surcharging them with His transcendental rasa. Now they would never be disturbed by anything or anyone.
THOSE UNDER SHELTER CANNOT BE AFFECTED BY LUST
Srila Jiva Goswami says that Krsna not only conquered Cupid and sent him out of Vraja, not allowing him to enter, but Krsna declares that any devotee that I have accepted and given shelter to, Cupid will never be able to touch or disturb that devotee. No longer will this life or any of their future lives be destroyed by material lust. To satisfy the desires of their senses, those who are very lusty and great sense enjoyers, perform so many activities in the modes of tamo-guna and rajo-guna. They take on so many impure karmic actions, leading to their repeated birth and death in samsara. For the satisfaction of lust there is so much fighting in this world. However, Krsna is saying that my devotees cannot be touched by the pangs of lustful desires given by Kamadeva.
BE UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE VRAJA-DEVIS
That night of the Rasa dance, millions upon millions of beautiful Vraja-devis came and Krsna immediately gave them perfection so that they would never be influenced by material lust. Without being freed of this lust how can we do pure bhagavad-bhajan and seva? Our minds are always contaminated and impure, so where will a pure mood to serve come from? How can we achieve this pure mood? If someone is impure, they will not attain the shelter of purity by their own means. They require some special help. Krsna taught that by simply remembering the Gopis, and following the footsteps of the Gopis, and by serving the Gopis, faith will arise, and the heart will be purified. By coming under the guidance of the Gopis, all the contaminations in the heart will be washed away.
Sukadeva Goswami said to Pariksit Maharaja, “Oh King, your whole life you have done so much charity, so many austerities, so nicely maintained your subjects, done so many yajnas, so much meditation, however, you are still not freed of sense desires. Because of this you were conquered and cursed. Why is this? Because you had not taken shelter of the Vraja-devis.”
Some people have a bad idea, thinking, “Why did Krsna dance with the wives of other men?” Because of this mentality they begin to make offenses towards the Vraja-gopis. However, those who take shelter of the Vraja-devis lotus feet become free of material conceptions, and have the chance to enter within Vraja-dhama under the footsteps of the Vraja-gopis.
THE FRUIT OF VYASADEVA’S AUSTERITIES WAS SUKADEVA GOSWAMI
Vyasadeva is called Badrinarayana because of the many strong austerities he performed in Badrikasrama. By the strength of these austerities, he described Krsna’s pastimes. As Krsna is worshipful for everyone, similarly Badrinarayan Rsi (Vyasadeva), by his worship of Sri Krsna, became respected and worshipful by all living beings. What did he receive as the fruit of this? The association of Sukadeva Goswami.
If you ask the tree, “What is your name?” The tree will say, “Look at my fruits and then you can understand my name.” How can we understand Guru? Look at his disciples. How can we understand the nature of someone’s parents? Look at their children. Because Vyasadeva did such intense austerity that pleased Krsna, he received the fruit of a divine personality, a liberated soul that was a beloved of God. Sukadeva Gosvami had full, transcendental knowledge, was beyond the senses and matter, was fully conversant in rasa, and had previously been Srimati Radhika’s dear parrot.
SUKADEVA WAS BEYOND LUST AND FROM THE TRANSCENDENTAL WORLD
Sukadeva Goswami could explain this rasa-lila perfectly because he was himself from the transcendental world. Ordinary souls could not describe this as he did. Vyasadeva received that very Sukadeva Goswami as his son. Only those who are beyond material lust and the urges of the senses can describe rasa-lila. Sukadeva Goswami was always established in the transcendental truth, and was permanently connected to bhagavat-rasa and bhagavat-prema. He was therefore able to describe this rasa-lila, which is the most exalted pastime of Sri Krsna.
BEING UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF SOMEONE WHO IS BEYOND THIS WORLD
Look at the glory of Sri Krsna’s pastimes with the Vraja-gopis! This world and its affairs are very contemptible; however, Sri Krsna’s pastimes with the Vraja-gopis are the most exalted pastimes and worthy of worship. When we come under the shelter of those who are conversant and qualified within these rasas, then we can begin to understand the glory of the Vraja-gopis, and become eager to take their shelter. By doing so, bhagavat-prema and bhagavat-bhakti can easily be obtained. However, without this shelter, we will not be able to please Bhagavan by our own spiritual practice and endeavor.
What is bhakti and how can we achieve it? In this world it is not possible to achieve bhakti by force or by millions of years of your own austerities. By sukrti you can come into good association, or you can achieve liberation, but to develop pure love and pure attachment to God, it is not possible just by sukrti alone. Sukadeva Goswami came from that transcendental world and described the pastimes of rasa-lila and then he gave the method to obtain it. How can you receive that perfection? You must come under the guidance of someone who is himself beyond this world.
WHO IS SUKA?
The son of Vyasadeva, Srila Sukadeva Goswami, described this Rasa Pancadhyayi. In five chapters he described the rasa of Sri Krsna and the Vraja-devis. In the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Goswami is referred to as Suka. Why is the name ‘Suka’ used and what is Suka like? Suka means parrot, who speaks very sweetly. Previously, he was Srimati Radhika’s parrot. He has very attractive and sweet speech, with a melodic voice. Unnatojjvala-rasa is always present within Sukadeva Goswami, therefore He can distribute it. No one had appeared in this world previously who could distribute this rasa to everyone. Therefore, it is said:
nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
Sukadeva Goswami tasted this bhagavat-rasa which is like a ripe mango without a seed or skin, and because he tasted it himself, when he distributed that bhagavat-rasa, it became even more sweet. Before him, tattva-jnana, and some idea of bhakti was present. There was karma-misra, jnana-misra bhakti, and so forth, but no pure Vraja-bhakti or Vraja-bhakti-rasa could be found.
Sukadeva Goswami was able to bring this because he himself was the parrot of Srimati Radhika. Thus, in a very sweet manner, he distributed rasa-lila, full of unnatojvala-rasa, the highest mellow of divine love between Sri Sri Radha and Krsna.
THE VRAJA GOPIS GIVE TRANSCENDENTAL WEALTH
The Vraja gopis want to please Krsna, to satisfy Krsna, therefore they arrived in the forest. But how can we please Bhagavan? Their goal was to please Krsna, but until we have some quality by which we can please Him with, what can we do? If there is a person who is a like a beggar moving naked in the street, who has no cloth or food, he has nothing, and someone calls to him, “Help me!” How can that beggar help anyone? Also, if a person has everything, all wealth and resources, but his heart is not in the right place, then he also will not help. Sukadeva Goswami has said, “If the transcendental rasa is not given by the Vraja-gopis, then it cannot be received by force. The Vraja-gopis possess this transcendental rasa, this transcendental wealth, therefore they can bestow it to others.”
HOW TO OBTAIN QUALIFICATION FOR RASA
In this world, when someone takes birth, how do they obtain maya, jada-rasa? From childhood they are taught in school and colleges how to do business and make money in various ways. They are thus engaged in obtaining the qualifications on how to collect jada-rasa, material relationships and sense enjoyment.
Bhagavan thought, “How can people obtain qualification to enter the spiritual world? They must have a spiritual process. A material process cannot help them achieve a transcendental fruit.” Sastra gives some indication like, ‘the moon is on the branch of the tree’. But the moon is not really on the branch of the tree, this is only to give a kind of indication towards the general direction. Sastra therefore gives some advice or instruction about transcendental rasa in an indirect way, but by following this alone, one will not attain it. It is like the dwarf trying to catch the moon. One must receive the mercy of the residents of that transcendental world in order to achieve this topmost thing.
RASA PANCADHYAYI IS THE LIFE AIR OF THE BHAGAVATAM
We come into this world and we are like orphans, beggars, and we don’t posses anything. We are surrounded by material moods and the influence of the three modes of material nature. We are always trying to collect sense objects. People do so many austerities but they only beg for material things. They will perform worship, austerities, and give in charity and then pray, “Give me wealth, give me a good son and daughter, give me a beautiful wife. Oh Lord! Give me, give me, give me!” They are only praying for worldly things, and because of this their heart becomes filled with more impurities. Not a single drop of transcendental rasa enters their hearts, and they have no intelligence or ability to realize how unfortunate they are.
We may even be a sannyasi and have given up everything, but still we haven’t received this bhagavat-rasa! It is not so easy. Krsna therefore gave the ultimate goal and process. By attaining this rasa, and becoming rasika and bhavuk, then we can become qualified to serve Sri Krsna in Vraja. Bhagavan therefore manifested this rasa-lila which is the greatest process and greatest method to enter Vraja and become qualified.
Sukadeva Goswami said, “This Rasa Pancadhyayi is the five life-airs of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and it is the most-worthy object of worship for the devotees. Without the five elements—air, water, fire, earth and ether—the body cannot be present. If one element is not present in the body, then the body will perish. These five elements are necessary. Similarly, if there is no Rasa Pancadhyayi, these are like the five essential elements of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Without these five chapters of the Rasa Pancadhyayi, our spiritual form would never develop, we could never achieve our ‘svarupa-siddhi’(eternal form).
RASA-LILA IS SUPREME
The soul is now present in the body in a seed like form, and is always moving through the different species of life. Sometimes we are moving in air, sometimes in water, sometimes in fire. We are taking different life forms within these elements and because we are not liberated, we are in a seed like form. By taking shelter of this Rasa Pancadhyayi from a divine personality who is under the guidance of the Vraja-gopis, the seed of the soul will gradually blossom and develop, and we will enter that realm. The glories of the rasa-lila are therefore supreme. They are like our five life-airs in spiritual life, thus without this Rasa Pancadhyayi we cannot attain our spiritual forms.
LORD SIVA AND KAMADEVA
Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu states that Sri Krsna bewilders even cupid himself. There is no living being who is free from the effects of this Kamadeva. Kamadeva’s kingdom is within the bodies and minds of all living beings. We see what happened when Siva Thakuraa became separated from everyone and went into deep meditation on Bhagavan. The demigods saw that because Siva Thakuraa had become renounced and was giving up the world, everything was becoming dark, and tamo-guna (mode of ignorance) was spreading everywhere.
The demons became more and more powerful and were disturbing all the different living entities. The demigods thought, “How can we get Siva Thakura’s attention back towards his material work?” They prayed to Lord Brahma and he said, “I cannot convince him. Although he has the power to remove all anarthas and ignorance, and help all the living entities, I am unable to bring him to his duties. Somehow you are going to have to break the meditation which he has become completely absorbed in. If he gives up his meditation and enters external consciousness, then the world will be benefited. Simply by opening his eyes the world will be free of anarthas, and the power of the demons will diminish. Just like when the sun rises, naturally the darkness is dissipated, and all the thieves and dacoits hide. If Siva Thakura’s eyes open and he comes out of samadhi, then immediately everything will be restored to proper balance. Now go and break Siva Thakura’s meditation.”
Indra and his different demigods went and invited Kamadeva, they said, “Oh Kamadeva, please go and distract Siva Thakura. Shoot your five flower arrows at him and bring many beautiful gandharvas to distract him, thereby bringing him back to this world.”
Kamadeva has five arrows. These all affect the five senses of the body. If the five arrows of cupid do not attack us, then we can easily remain peaceful. When Cupid shoots his arrows at us, because of their influence, it is extremely hard to refrain from acting upon it.
Cupid went to Kedaranatha, where Siva Thakura was performing meditation, and he saw Siva Thakura was completely absorbed in samadhi. Cupid then made a beautiful environment and invited so many apsaras (heavenly dancers), they began to dance and sing and shower flowers upon Siva Thakura. However, they could not bring Siva Thakura’s attention towards the world. Then Cupid began to shoot his five flower arrows at Siva Thakura. First, he shot his arrow which affects the agni or fire, then the air, then the earth. He has an arrow for each of the elements which affect the different senses. Then when he shot the next arrow, Siva Thakura became disturbed. He thought, “Why is this power coming upon me like electricity? Where has this lust entered from?” If someone has been touched by this disease of lust then day and night that person will not have any peace. He will be so restless and disturbed. Siva Thakura thought, “Where has this come from?” He opened his eyes to see. “Who is causing this disturbance of breaking my samadhi and absorption in Sri Krsna’s seva?”
Siva Thakura opened his third eye, as he didn’t want to use his two eyes to see things in this world, and then he saw at a distance Kamadeva was dancing and attacking him with so many different instruments. Siva Thakura thought, “Oh you want to disturb me? Now at once you should lose your body.” Siva Thakura instantly burnt him to ash. Then Kamadeva had no more physical form, but still he could not be defeated by that.
Even though Kamadeva, or lust, is enjoying through everyone, still he is not satisfied. It is said however much a lusty person enjoys he can never be satisfied. A lusty person can never be satisfied, regardless of how much he enjoys. Day and night, he will never be satisfied. Siva Thakura said, “Now I will not let you go,” and he made him into ash. Now what could Kamadeva do?
KAMADEVA AND SAMBARASURA
At that time Rati, the wife of Kamadeva, approached Siva Thakura and prayed to him. Who is Rati? She is the wife of Cupid and she gives jada-rati, material desire, and because of her influence we are always thirsting for material things. She assists Kamadeva. She came and said to Siva Thakura, “Oh you have destroyed my husband, you have burnt him to ash!” She prayed for a long time and finally Siva Thakura gave her a blessing, saying, “Cupid will not come back now, but in Dvapara Yuga, when Krsna appears in this world, your husband will be born as His son. However, as soon as he is born, the demon Sambarasura will take him and try to kill him.”
Why did Sambarasura want to kill him? Sambarasura did not want Kamadeva to be present in this world. He thought, “I will kill Kamadeva, because if Kamadeva is born, then he will try and enjoy everyone.” This jada-kama or material lust enjoys through everyone. So Sambarasura thought, “I will conquer and control him.” But it is not so easy. Sambarasura was thinking he would take this position of Kamadeva.
Siva Thakura said to Rati, “You should stay in Sambarasura’s house and become a maidservant there, become his cook and servant. And when Kamadeva takes birth as the son of Krsna and Rukmini, then Sambarasura will capture him.”
Sambarasura captured Kamadeva when he was born and planned to kill him. When he was on the way to his home to kill Kamadeva, he met Narada Rsi on the pathway. Narada Rsi asked him, “Oh where are you going? Are you going to kill this innocent child? Will you commit such a heinous sin? You will never be able to be free of that sin.”
Sambarasura asked, “Should I allow him to grow up and then kill him?”
Narada said, “Oh! You won’t be able to kill him if he gets big and strong. You should just throw him here. Now you are near the water, just throw him in the ocean and then somehow he will drown.”
Sambarasura then threw Kamadeva, the baby son of Krsna, into the ocean, and then a fish swallowed the baby. But by swallowing the baby, the fish now became so restless because of Kama (lust). The fish became senseless and crazy. The fish was then shot and killed by a fisherman. By fate, the fish was sold to the home of Sambarasura, where Rati was his cook and servant. Sambarasura, being very pleased with her cooking, gave her this fish to cook. When she cut the fish open, she saw the baby Kamadeva in the stomach. She fed the fish to Sambarasura, but hid the baby and took care of him and taught him all mystic powers and potencies. Then when he grew and became a youth, she told him, “You are my husband and I am your wife.”
Kamadeva replied, “But you took care of me like a mother and you are so much older than me. I am just a young boy.”
Rati said, “No, I am actually your wife and you are my husband.” She then told all the pastimes of how he was burnt by Siva Thakura and so forth. She said, “Now you must kill Sambarasura,” and she helped him do this.
NOT EASY TO GET RID OF LUST
Even though Siva Thakura conquered Kamadeva, still he again appeared in this world. Therefore, it is not easy to be free of Kamadeva. Whether you do bhajan and sadhana, or even try to achieve liberation, still Kamadeva can always touch you. He even approached Siva Thakura and disturbed him. No matter how old you are, whether you are a man or woman, young or old, boy or girl, or even an ant, Kamadeva will come. Kamadeva is like the king of the whole world and he has power over all the living beings in this world.
Sukadeva Goswami told Pariksit Maharaja, “As long as you are taking things from this world that are under the control of Kamadeva, you will have material desires and be influenced by the three modes of nature. Therefore, you must become freed from this.”
First, we must get mukti (liberation) from this world. What is the real meaning of mukti? It means to be present in your spiritual form in the spiritual world, otherwise it is not real mutki. Mukti is not an ordinary thing. The revealed scriptures say, “What is real mukti?” That is to achieve your spiritual identity and form in the transcendental world. As long as you are present in the realm of material lust then you cannot achieve your spiritual form.
WORLDLY LUST VERSUS DIVINE LOVE
Kamadeva came to Sri Krsna at the rasa-lila, but he could not touch any of them and he himself became senseless. Afterwards he offered pranam from a distance and left. Cupid could not touch the place where Krsna was performing His rasa-lila. Where bhagavat-rasa is present, then jada-rasa, or material rasa, cannot have any influence there because that place is already completely fulfilled with spiritual love and spiritual moods. Sri Krsna’s pastimes with the Gopis do not have a scent of material lusty affairs. In this world the five senses are always attracted towards sense objects, and seeing beautiful forms, their lust arises. They are always eager to taste material affairs, and day and night people are mad after this. It doesn’t matter how much people try to enjoy their senses, they never attain satisfaction. If they taste or smell nice things, or if any of the objects of the senses come towards them, like nice things to eat, smell, hear, or taste, they become maddened with lust. To satisfy their lust they are prepared to do anything, but still, they always remain restless. It is very difficult to progress even one step forward in spiritual life without becoming free of the influence of kama (lust). For example, if you touch a very powerful electric current, you become fixed to that and you cannot let go. This is like the effects of lust. Even if you are an old man on the verge of death, still you cannot be free of this lust, and you will always be thinking of this world and how to come back and enjoy more.
Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandhav Publications, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]