atha sakhya-rase vidagdho buddhimān suveśaḥ sukhītyādi-gunaḥ śrī-kṛṣṇo viṣayālambanaḥ. āśrayālambanāḥ sakhāyaś catur-vidhāḥ. suhṛdaḥ sakhāyaḥ priya-sakhāyaḥ priyanarma-sakhāyaś ca. ye kṛṣṇasya vayasādhikās te suhṛdaḥ kiñcid vātsalyavantaḥ. te subhadra-maṇḍalībhadra-balabhadrādayaḥ. ye kiñcid vayasā nyūnās te kiñcid dāsya-miśrāḥ sakhāyaḥ. te viśāla-vṛṣabha-devaprasthādayaḥ. ye vayasā tulyās te priya-sakhāyaḥ śrīdāma-sudāma-vasudāmādayaḥ. ye tu preyasī rahasya-sahāyāḥ śṛṅgāra bhāva-spṛhās te priyanarma-sakhāyaḥ subala-madhumaṅgalārjunādayaḥ. śrī-kṛṣṇasya kaumāra-paugaṇḍa-kaiśorān vayāṁsi śṛṅga-veṇu-dala-vādyādayaś ca uddīpana-vibhāvāḥ. tatra pramāṇaṁ – “kaumāraṁ pañcamābdāntaṁ paugaṇḍaṁ daśamāvadhi. kaiśoram āpañca-daśaṁ yauvanaṁ tu tataḥ param.” aṣṭa-māsādhika-daśa-varṣa-paryantaṁ śrī-kṛṣṇasya vraje prakaṭa-vihāraḥ. ataeva śrī-kṛṣṇasyālpa-kālata eva vayo-vṛddhyā māsa-catuṣṭayādhika-vatsara-traya-paryantaṁ kaumāraṁ. tataḥ param aṣṭa-māsādhika-ṣaḍ-varṣa-paryantaṁ paugaṇḍam. tataḥ param aṣṭa-māsādhika-daśa-varṣa-paryantaṁ-kaiśoram. tataḥ param api sarva-kālaṁ vāpya kaiśoram eva. daśa-varṣaṁ śeṣa- kaiśoram. tatraiva sadā sthitiḥ. evaṁ saptame varṣe vaiśākhe māsi kaiśorārambhaḥ. ataeva prasiddhaḥ paugaṇḍa-madhye preyasībhiḥ saha vihāraḥ. tāsām api tathābhūtatvād iti prasaṅgāt likhitam. sakhye bāhu-yuddha-khelā eka-śayyā-śayanādayo ’nubhāvāḥ. aśru-pulakādayaḥ sarve eva sāttvikāḥ. harṣa-garvādayaḥ sañcāriṇaḥ sāmya-dṛṣṭyā niḥsambhramatāmayaḥ viśvāsa-viśeṣaḥ sakhya-ratiḥ sthāyī bhāvaḥ. atha praṇayaḥ premā sneho rāgaḥ sakhyena saha pañca-vidhaḥ syāt. anyatra arjuna-bhīmasena śrīdāma-viprādyāḥ sakhāyaḥ. tatrāpi viyoge daśa daśāḥ pūrvavat jñātavyāḥ. iti sakhya-rasaḥ.
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.3.1) sakhya-rasa is described as follows:
sthāyī bhāvo vibhāvādyaiḥ
sakhyam ātmocitair iha
nītaś citte satāṁ puṣṭiṁ
rasaḥ preyān udīryyate
When sakhya-rati sthāyibhāva is nourished within the hearts of devotees by combination with the appropriate vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas and vyabhicāri-bhāvas, it is called preyo-bhakti-rasa or sakhya-bhakti-rasa.
As described earlier in regard to dāsya-bhakti-rasa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the viṣayālambana, sometimes in a two-handed form and sometimes in a four-handed form. The qualities He displays as the viṣayālambana of preyo-bhakti-rasa are described as follows: He is beautifully dressed (suveśa); He possesses all divine characteristics in the features and markings of His body (sarva-sat-lakṣaṇānvita); He is extremely powerful (baliṣṭha); He is adept in many different languages (vividhādbhuta-bhāṣānvita); His speech is very pleasing to the ears and filled with sweetness and rasa (vāvadūka); He is learned in all branches of knowledge and expert in adopting appropriate behaviour (supaṇḍita); He is sagacious and His intelligence is very subtle (buddhimān); He is quick-witted and thus able to invent newer and newer meanings on the spur of the moment (vipula-pratibhānvita); He is expert, being able to quickly accomplish very difficult tasks (dakṣa); He is merciful and thus unable to tolerate the distress of others (karuṇa); He is the best of heroes (vīra-śekhara); He is expert in the sixty-four arts and in amorous sportive pastimes (vidagdha-rasika); He forgives the offences of others (kṣamāśīla); He is the object of everyone’s affection (raktaloka); He is possessed of great opulence (samṛddhimān); He always enjoys happiness and is never touched by even a trace of distress (sukhī); and He is superior to all (varīyān).
The sakhās (friends) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who have a strong sense of mamatā (possessiveness) towards Him, who are possessed of deep faith, who are firmly fixed on Him, who benefit others by their behaviour and who are deeply absorbed in serving Kṛṣṇa in the mood of a friend, are the āśrayālambana. They have been further described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.3.8) as follows:
samāḥ samyag ayantritāḥ
vayasyās tasya kīrttitāḥ
Those who are identical to Śrī Kṛṣṇa in terms of form, qualities and dress, who are completely devoid of the constraints that are found in the servants and who are possessed of deep faith in Kṛṣṇa imbued with intimacy, are known as vayasyas (friends).
The vayasyas of Kṛṣṇa are of two types: pura-sambandhi (those residing in the city) and vraja-sambandhi (those residing in Vraja). The sakhās residing in the city include Arjuna, Bhīmasena, Draupadī, Śrīdāmā brāhmaṇa (Sudāmā Vipra) and others. Of these Arjuna is considered to be the best. The vraja-vayasyas are described as follows in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.3.16):
pradhānatvaṁ bhajanty amī
Those who become perturbed when Kṛṣṇa leaves their sight for even a moment, who always play with Him and who hold Him as dear as life, are the vraja-vayasyas. For these reasons they are foremost among all the friends of Kṛṣṇa.
The vayasyas of Kṛṣṇa in Gokula are of four types: (1) suhṛt-sakhā, (2) sakhā, (3) priya-sakhā and (4) priyanarma-sakhā.
Those whose sakhya is mixed with a scent of vātsalya, who are slightly older than Kṛṣṇa, who bear a staff and other weapons and who always protect Kṛṣṇa from the demons are called suhṛt-sakhās. These include Subhadra, Maṇḍalībhadra, Bhadravardhana, Gobhaṭa, Yakṣa, Indrabhaṭa, Bhadrāṅga, Vīrabhadra, Mahāguṇa, Vijaya and Balabhadra. Of these Maṇḍalībhadra and Balabhadra are the best.
Those who are slightly younger than Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose sakhya is mixed with a scent of dāsya and who are exclusively attached to the happiness of rendering service to Kṛṣṇa are called sakhās. These include Viśāla, Vṛṣabha, Ojasvī, Devaprastha, Varūthapa, Maranda, Kusumāpīḍa, Maṇibandha and Karandhama. Of these Devaprastha is the best.
Those who are the same age as Kṛṣṇa and who take exclusive shelter of the attitude of sakhya are called priya-sakhās. These include Śrīdāmā, Sudāmā, Dāmā, Vasudāmā, Kiṅkiṇī, Stoka-kṛṣṇa, Amśu, Bhadrasena, Vilāsī, Puṇḍarīka, Viṭaṅka and Kalaviṅka. They always give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa by various types of games and by wrestling, stick-fighting and other types of amusement. Of these Śrīdāmā is the best.In his commentary to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.3.36–8) Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has said that although the friends known as Dāmā, Sudāmā, Vasudāmā and Kiṅkiṇī are known as priya-sakhās, they may also be counted as priyanarma-sakhās because they personify Kṛṣṇa’s heart and pervade His entire being. In order to establish this he quotes the following verse from the Gautamīya-tantra (15.38):
ātmābhedena te pūjyā
yathā kṛṣṇas tathaiva te
The purport of this statement is that because Dāmā, Vasudāmā, Sudāmā and Kiṅkiṇī personify Kṛṣṇa’s heart, they are described to be as worshipable as Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore in the ceremony known as āvaraṇa-pūjā, a particular method of worship described in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (7.360–76) and referred to in the above verse from the Gautamīya-tantra, these four personalities are offered the first worship with scented flowers and sandalwood.
- (4) Priyanarma-sakhāThe priyanarma-sakhās are superior in every way to the three other types of sakhās. They are engaged in extremely confidential services and are possessed of a very special bhāva (sakhī-bhāva). In other words they perform confidential services for the preyasīs (lovers) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they assist Kṛṣṇa in meeting with the preyasīs and they desire to give pleasure to them. These include Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, Ujjvala and Madhumaṅgala. Of these Subala and Ujjvala are the best.
The above four types of sakhā are of three kinds: nitya-siddha, suracara (those who were previously demigods and who attained to the position of Kṛṣṇa’s friends through the performance of sādhana) and sādhana-siddha. Although the suracaras also attained perfection through sādhana, they are classified separately in order to distinguish them from the general sādhana-siddhas.
Kṛṣṇa’s age and beauty, His horn, flutes, conch and other musical instruments made out of leaves, His joking behaviour and heroism, His beloved associates and His imitation of the behaviour of kings, demigods and incarnations of the Lord, are the uddīpanas of sakhya-bhakti-rasa.
Of the various uddīpanas mentioned above, Kṛṣṇa’s age or vayasa will now be described. Kṛṣṇa’s age is of three types: kaumāra (childhood), paugaṇḍa (boyhood) and kaiśora (early youth). Generally kaumāra is up to the age of five, paugaṇḍa is up to the age of ten and kaiśora is up to the age of fifteen years. After that comes yauvana (mature youth). However, it is well known that Śrī Kṛṣṇa enacted His pastimes in Vraja up to the age of ten years and eight months. Therefore in regard to Śrī Kṛṣṇa maturity takes place even at a very young age.
For Him kaumāra is up to three years and four months, paugaṇḍa is up to six years and eight months and kaiśora is up to ten years and eight months. Thereafter Kṛṣṇa always remains in the condition of kaiśora. In Vraja Kṛṣṇa enters the final stage of early youth (śeṣa-kaiśora) at the age of ten, and from then on He always remains in that condition. Kṛṣṇa’s kaiśora begins in the month of Vaiśākha (April–May, the second month of the Indian calendar) of His seventh year. Therefore His pastimes with the gopīs are celebrated even in the stage of paugaṇḍa. The conditions of kaumāra, paugaṇḍa and kaiśora in the gopīs follow the exact same pattern. Kṛṣṇa’s various ages have been discussed here with reference to the topic of uddīpana-vibhāva.
The sādhāraṇa or common anubhāvas of sakhya-rasa are wrestling, playing with a ball, gambling, riding on each others’ shoulders, pleasing Kṛṣṇa by stick-fighting, laying down or sitting with Kṛṣṇa on a bed, sitting place or swing, joking in a most striking and charming manner, engaging in water sports and, upon meeting with Kṛṣṇa, dancing, singing and the other symptoms previously described. These are known as sādhāraṇa-anubhāvas because they are common to all four kinds of friends. The anubhāvas that are unique to each division of friends will now be described.
Asādhāraṇa-anubhāva of the suhṛt-sakhās
To give instructions as to what is to be done and what is not to be done, to engage Kṛṣṇa in beneficial activities and to take the lead in almost all activities are the anubhāvas that are unique to the suhṛt-sakhās.
Asādhāraṇa-anubhāva of the sakhās
To place tāmbūla in Kṛṣṇa’s mouth, to draw tilaka marks on Him, to anoint Him with sandalwood and to draw pictures on His face are the anubhāvas that are unique to the sakhās.
Asādhāraṇa-anubhāva of the priya-sakhās
To defeat Kṛṣṇa in battle, to pull Kṛṣṇa by taking hold of His clothes, to steal flowers from Kṛṣṇa’s hands, to have oneself dressed and decorated by Kṛṣṇa, and to engage in hand-to-hand battle with Kṛṣṇa are the anubhāvas that are unique to the priya-sakhās.
Asādhāraṇa-anubhāva of the priyanarma-sakhās
The priyanarma-sakhās deliver messages to the Vraja kiśorīs. They approve of the Vraja kiśorīs’ love for Kṛṣṇa. When the Vraja kiśorīs quarrel with Kṛṣṇa, the priyanarma-sakhās take Kṛṣṇa’s side, but when the kiśorīs are absent, they are expert in supporting the side of the yūtheśvarī of whom they have taken shelter. They also whisper secret messages in Kṛṣṇa’s ear. These are the anubhāvas that are unique to the priyanarma-sakhās.
All eight sāttvika-bhāvas such as tears, trembling and hairs standing on end are present in sakhya-rasa.
In sakhya-rasa all vyabhicāri-bhāvas are found except for fierceness, fear and laziness. In separation from Kṛṣṇa, all vyabhicāri-bhāvas are found except for intoxication, jubilation, pride, sleep and fortitude, and in meeting all are found except for death, fatigue, disease, hysteric convulsions and wretchedness.
“We are equals.” When one’s rati for Kṛṣṇa is possessed of this attitude and is therefore devoid of the constraints arising from a reverential outlook, and when it is possessed of very deep faith imbued with intimacy (viśrambha), it is called sakhya-rati. This sakhya-rati is the sthāyibhāva of sakhya-rasa. When sakhya-rati is augmented it attains to the stages of praṇaya, prema, sneha and rāga. Thus, including sakhya-rati, there are five stages in total. Prema, sneha and rāga have been defined already under the heading of dāsya-rasa. Praṇaya will now be defined.
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.3.108) defines praṇaya as follows:
yogyatāyām api sphuṭam
tad gandhenāpy asaṁspṛṣṭā
ratiḥ praṇaya ucyate
When there is a very distinct presence of elements which would invoke a reverential attitude and yet one’s rati is not even slightly influenced by such feelings, it is known as praṇaya.
The conditions known as ayoga and yoga, as well as the ten conditions of viyoga described previously in regard to dāsya-rasa,1 are also found in sakhya-rasa.