six daṇḍas after dusk
(approximately 6:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.)
The sixth verse of Śikṣāṣṭaka describes the visible manifestations of perfection:
vadanaṁ gadgada-ruddhayā girā
pulakair nicitaṁ vapuḥ kadā
tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati
O Lord, when will tears flow from my eyes, my voice falter and all the hairs on my body stand erect as I chant Your holy names?
prema dhana vinā vyartha daridra jīvana
‘dāsa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana
“Without the wealth of prema, my wretched life is useless. O Lord, please accept me as Your paid servant and grant me the wealth of prema as wages.”
The intrinsic nature of bhāva is described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.2):
premnas tu prathamāvasthā
bhāva ity abhidhīyate
sāttvikāḥ svalpa-mātrā syur
The first stage of prema is known as bhāva. In this stage sāttvika-bhāvas, such as hairs standing on end (pulaka), tears (aśru) and shivering (kampa), are slightly manifest.
premera prathamāvasthā bhāva nāma tāra
pulakāśru svalpa haya sāttvika vikāra
Bhāva, also known as rati, is considered to be the sprout of prema, which is the fully blossomed state of bhakti. Bhāva, a special manifestation of śuddha-sattva, is compared to a ray of the sun of prema and it softens the heart by various tastes (ruci). In other words bhāva is the condition in which the heart melts as a result of cultivating activities favourable to Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇānuśīlana).
Bhāva is also described in the following verse from Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.1):
kṛd asau bhāva ucyate
Bhāva-bhakti is a special manifestation of śuddha-sattva. In other words the constitutional characteristic of bhāva-bhakti is that it is a phenomenon entirely constituted of śuddha-sattva. It is like a ray of the sun of prema and it softens the heart by various tastes (ruci).
In his commentary to this verse Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura writes, “When sādhana-bhakti succeeds in softening the heart by various tastes (ruci), it is called bhāva-bhakti. The word ruci here refers to:
- (1) the desire to attain Bhagavān (bhagavat-prāpti-abhilāṣa),
- (2) the desire to do what is favourable for Bhagavān (ānukūlya-abhilāṣa) and
- (3) the desire to serve Bhagavān with affection (sauhārda-abhilāṣa).
The constitutional nature of bhāva-bhakti is śuddha-sattva-viṣeśātmā, which means it is fully comprised of śuddha-sattva. Śuddha-sattva refers to the self-manifest cognitive function of Bhagavān’s svarūpa-śakti known as samvid-vṛtti, the function of divine cognisance. When the word viśeṣa is added to śuddha-sattva, it indicates hlādinī, another great potency of svarūpa-śakti. One should understand from this that mahābhāva, which is the highest state of hlādinī, is included within śuddha-sattva-viśeṣa. Hence śuddha-sattva-viṣeśātmā is that supreme function of svarūpa-śakti which is possessed of desire favourable to Bhagavān, which is the essence of the combined samvit- and hlādinī-śaktis, and which is situated in the hearts of Bhagavān’s eternal associates. It is one with the mood of their hearts (tādātmya-bhāva). In simple words, the eternally perfect moods situated within the eternal associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are called śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā. The constitutional nature of bhāva-bhakti is śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā and, because it is likened to the first ray of the sun of prema-bhakti, it is also called the sprout of prema.
The natural function of bhāva is to manifest Kṛṣṇa’s inherent nature (svarūpa) and the inherent nature of His pastimes. Bhāva can arise in two ways:
- (1) by absorption in one’s spiritual practice (sādhana-abhiniveśa-ja) and
- (2) by the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa or His devotees (śrī-kṛṣṇa-prasāda-ja or śrī-kṛṣṇa-bhakta-prasāda-ja).
By the influence of associating with great personalities, one engages in the sādhana of bhagavad-bhakti. Gradually a taste (ruci) for bhakti arises within him, he develops attachment (āsakti) for Bhagavān, and finally he attains bhāva. Bhāva received in this way is called sādhana-abhiniveśa-ja.
Bhāva that suddenly arises, without any sādhana, is called śrī-kṛṣṇa-prasāda-ja-bhāva or śrī-kṛṣṇa-bhakta-prasāda-ja-bhāva. Prasāda-ja-bhāva is rare; generally the living entity attains sādhana-abhiniveśa-ja-bhāva.
Śrī-kṛṣṇa-prasāda-ja-bhāva is received by Kṛṣṇa’s benediction, His darśana, or by a revelation (sphūrti) within the heart. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī received bhāva as a result of mercy manifesting in his heart. Numerous examples of these three kinds of prasāda-ja-bhāvas were seen during the advent of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Bhāva arose in the hearts of countless people just by receiving Mahāprabhu’s darśana. Jagāi and Mādhāi received bhāva as a result of a benediction, and Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī’s bhāva manifested as a sphūrti within his heart.
Dhruva and Prahlāda are examples of personalities who attained śrī-kṛṣṇa-bhakta-prasāda-ja-bhāva, as they received bhagavad-bhāva by the mercy of Śrī Nārada Muni. Bhāva was also awakened in the hearts of countless people by the mercy of Śrī Rūpa, Śrī Sanātana and other associates of Mahāprabhu.
The characteristics of sthāyibhāva are described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.25–6):
nāma-gāne sadā ruciḥ
ity ādayo ’nubhāvāḥ
syur jāta-bhāvāṅkure jane
When bhāva arises, the following nine symptoms are observed in the sādhaka: forbearance, effective use of one’s time, detachment, absence of pride, steadfast hope that Kṛṣṇa will bestow His mercy, intense longing to obtain one’s goal, constant taste for chanting the holy name, attachment to hearing about Kṛṣṇa’s qualities and affection for Kṛṣṇa’s pastime-places.
kṣobhera kāraṇa sattve kṣobha nāhi haya
sadā kṛṣṇa bhaje, nāhi kare kāla-kṣaya
kṛṣṇetara-viṣaye virakti sadā raya
māna thakileo abhimānī nāhi haya
avaśya pāiba kṛṣṇa-kṛpā āśā kare
kṛṣṇa bhaje ahar ahaḥ vyākula antare
hare-kṛṣṇa-nāma-gāne ruci nirantara
śrī-kṛṣṇera guṇākhyāne āsakti vistara
prīti kare sadā kṛṣṇa-vasatira sthāne
ei anubhāva bhāvāṅkura vidyamāne
- 1. Kṣānti – When one remains calm and composed although there is reason to be angry or restless, it is called kṣānti, forbearance. A sādhaka naturally displays forbearance, as seen in the example of Parīkṣit Mahārāja. Even after he received the curse of imminent death by Śṛṅgī, the son of a muni, he did not become disturbed, but with a steady mind proceeded to hear hari-kathā.
- 2. Avyartha-kālatva – This means not wasting time, and always being absorbed in hari-bhajana.
- 3. Virakti – A natural distaste for material sense enjoyment is called virakti, detachment.
- 4. Māna-śūnyatā – Pride arises from one’s high birth, social class, stage of life, wealth, beauty, high position and so on. Māna-śūnyatā is the condition in which the heart remains free from pride even though one may have all these qualifications.
- 5. Āśā-bandha – To apply one’s mind very diligently to bhajana with the firm faith that “Śrī Kṛṣṇa will surely bestow His mercy upon me” is called āśā-bandha, steadfast hope.
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has expressed his hope (āśā) in Vilāpa-kusumāṣjali (102):
āśā bharair amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathaṣcit
kālo mayātigamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi
tvaṁ cet kṛpāṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me
prāṇair vrajena ca varoru bakāriṇāpi
O Varoru Rādhā, it is as rare to fulfil my hope as it is to attain an ocean of nectar, but I pass my days, greatly longing to fulfil it. Now You must give mercy to this poor, unhappy person. What to speak of my life, everything – my residing in Vraja and even my service to Kṛṣṇa – is useless without Your mercy.
- 6. Samutkaṇṭhā – Intense longing to attain one’s desired object is called samutkaṇṭhā.
This kind of eagerness is shown in the prayer of Vṛtrāsura (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.11.26)):
ajāta-pakṣā iva mātaraṁ khagāḥ
stanyaṁ yathā vatsatarāḥ kṣudhārtāḥ
priyaṁ priyeva vyuṣitaṁ viṣaṇṇā
mano ’ravindākṣa didṛkṣate tvām
O lotus-eyed one, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes anxiously await the time of milking when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.
- 7. Nāma-gāne sadā ruci – To constantly chant the name of Hari with the faith that śrī-nāma-bhajana is the topmost form of bhajana, is called nāma-gāne sadā ruci, taste in chanting the holy name. To have a taste for the holy name is the key to obtaining the ultimate auspiciousness.
Kṛṣṇa-nāma is both the practice (sādhana) and the goal (sādhya). The topmost name, as taught by Śrī Gaurasundara, is the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Nowadays, non-devotees write lyrics that are imaginary and full of rasa-ābhāsa, overlapping of transcendental mellows. Many people understand these lyrics to be nāma-mantras, but such mantras are not mentioned in the scriptures and it is improper to chant them. Śrīman Mahāprabhu (Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya-khaṇḍa 13.10)) has given the order: “ihā vai āra nā bolibā bolāibā – ask them to chant only Hare Kṛṣṇa, nothing else.”
- 8. Āsaktis tad-guṇākhyāne – The thirst of a bhāva-bhakta to describe and hear the sweet pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which are filled with all auspicious qualities, is never satiated. The more he hears, the more his attachment increases.
- 9. Tad-vasati-sthale-prīti – The desire to reside in Śrī Vṛndāvana, Śrī Navadvīpa or other abodes of Bhagavān is called tad-vasati-sthale-prīti, affection for the transcendental residences of Bhagavān. Living in the dhāma is only beneficial when one has the association of pure devotees.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings in his song Śuddha-bhakata:
gaura āmāra ye saba sthāne karalo bhramaṇa raṅge
se saba sthāna heriba āmi praṇayi-bhakata-saṅge
In the association of loving devotees, I will go to all the places that Gaura joyfully visited.
And in the song Kabe gaura-vane, he sings: “dhāma-vāsī-jane praṇati kariyā māgiba kṛpāra leśa – when will I offer obeisances to all the residents of the dhāma, begging one drop of mercy from them?”
If it is not possible to physically live in the dhāma, then one should live there mentally, and, in the company of pure devotees, one should hear and recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other scriptures. This is the same as living in the dhāma.
If some of the symptoms of bhāva are observed in karmīs, who desire sense enjoyment, or in jṣānīs, who aspire for liberation, one should understand that such symptoms are nothing but a reflection (pratibimba) of bhāva or a semblance of rati (raty-ābhāsa). When ignorant persons exhibit these symptoms of bhāva by virtue of their association with devotees, it can be called a shadow of bhakti (chāyā-rūpa-bhakty-ābhāsa).
The anubhāvas that arise in a devotee when he reaches a developed stage of bhāva are listed in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.2.2):
nṛtyaṁ viluṭhitaṁ gītaṁ
huṅkāro jṛmbhaṇaṁ śvāsa-
lālāsrāvo ’ṭṭa-hāsaś ca
ghūrṇā-hikkādayo ’pi ca
The external transformations that reveal the heart’s emotions (bhāvas) are called anubhāvas. They are dancing (nṛtya), rolling on the ground (viluṭhita), singing (gīta), loud crying (krośana), writhing of the body (tanu-moṭana), roaring (huṅkāra), yawning (jṛmbhaṇa), breathing heavily (śvāsa-bhūmā), neglecting others (lokānapekṣitā), drooling (lālāsrāva), loud laughter (aṭṭa-hāsa), staggering about (ghūrṇā) and hiccups (hikkā).
nṛtya, gaḍāgaḍi, gīta, cītkāra, huṅkāra
tanu-phole, hāṅī uṭhe, śvāsa bāra bāra
lokāpekṣā chāḍe, lālāsrāva, aṭṭa-hāsa
hikkā ghūrṇā bāhya anubhāva suprakāśa
With the development of the sādhaka’s transcendental emotions, the above-mentioned anubhāvas manifest. Not caring for public opinion, the sādhaka chants and dances. It is impossible for worldly-minded persons to understand such activities of the devotees. The behaviour of the devotees who can taste bhāva (bhāvuka-bhaktas) is completely different from that of mundane persons. Sometimes, hypocrites, who desire material gain, worship or fame, imitate the activities of pure devotees. Once, while watching a snake dance, nāma-ācārya Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura remembered Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastime of subduing Kāliya-nāga (kāliya-damana-līlā) and started to dance. Other devotees took his foot-dust and smeared it on their heads, considering themselves very fortunate. An envious brāhmaṇa began to imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura, but no devotee was attracted to him, and instead he was scolded by the snake-charmer.
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.3.16) describes the aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāvas as follows:
svara-bhedo ’tha vepathuḥ
vaivarṇyam aśru pralaya
ity aṣṭau sāttvikāḥ smṛtāḥ
The aṣṭa-sāttvika transformations of bhāva are: (1) becoming stunned (stambha), (2) perspiration (sveda), (3) standing of the hairs on end (romāṣca), (4) faltering of the voice (svara-bheda), (5) trembling (kampa), (6) loss of colour (vaivarṇya), (7) tears (aśru) and (8) loss of consciousness or fainting (pralaya).
stambha, sveda, romāṣca o kampa svara-bheda
vaivarṇya, pralaya, aśru vikāra-prabheda
In the pure consciousness (śuddha-sattva) of the living entity, when the action of the heart (citta) becomes stimulated it precipitates further action. At that time a natural wonderfulness arises, which makes the heart blossom in various ways. This externally manifests as udbhāsvaras, anubhāvas that manifest as external actions. These transformations, such as dancing and so forth, are of many varieties. When the anubhāvas, which nourish vibhāva, arise in the heart, they pervade the body as udbhāsvaras.
The word sattva refers to the heart that is directly stimulated by transcendental sentiments. The bhāvas, or emotions, that arise from this sattva are called sāttvika-bhāvas. Becoming stunned (stambha), trembling (kampa) and so forth are symptoms of sāttvika transformations. When the sādhaka’s heart attains oneness with sāttvika-bhāvas, it submits itself to the life-air (prāṇa). Then, when the prāṇa is excited, it is transformed, causing excessive agitation to the body. At that time, stambha (becoming stunned) and other transformations arise.
In anubhāvas such as dancing (nṛtya), the bhāva that is mani-fested by sattva does not directly perform the activity. Rather, the activity is performed as a result of the intelligence being stimulated. In the sāttvika-bhāvas such as stambha, however, the intelligence is not needed, as the sāttvika-bhāva itself directly performs the activity. For this reason, anubhāvas and sāttvika-bhāvas are considered to be different.
In some conditions, the life-air (prāṇa) becomes present as the fifth element together with the other four elements of earth, water, fire and sky. Sometimes it consists mainly of itself – that is, it is predominated by air (vāyu) – and it moves throughout the body of the living entity. When the prāṇa comes in contact with the earth element, inertness (stambha) is observed; when it takes shelter of water, tears (aśru) manifest; when it contacts fire, perspiration (sveda) and change in bodily colour (vaivarṇya) are evident; and when it takes shelter of sky, it manifests devastation (pralaya) or loss of consciousness (mūrccha). When it consists predominately of itself, or in other words, when it takes shelter of the element air, horripilation (romāṣca), trembling (vepathu) and faltering of the voice (svara-bheda) manifest respectively, corresponding to the prāṇa’s mild, moderate or intense strength.
Stambha is a state in which one becomes inert, and it arises from jubilation, fear, astonishment, dejection, regret, anger and depression. Perspiration (sveda) arises from jubilation, fear, anger and so forth. When the bodily hairs stand on end, the condition is known as romāṣca, and it arises from astonishment, jubilation, enthusiasm and fear. Faltering of the voice (svara-bheda) arises from despair, wonder, anger, jubilation and fear. Trembling (vepathu) is caused by fear, anger, jubilation and so forth. When the body changes colour it is called vaivarṇya, and it arises from despair, anger, fear and so on. Tears (aśru) come from the eyes through the influence of jubilation, anger, despair and so on. Tears of joy are cool, whereas tears of anger and so forth are warm. Cessation of all action, loss of consciousness, becoming motionless and falling to the ground are called pralaya. Pralaya arises from both happiness and distress.
These sāttvika-bhāvas manifest in five stages of intensity, according to the progressive gradation of sattva:
- (1) smouldering (dhūmāyita),
- (2) flaming (jvalita),
- (3) burning (dīpta),
- (4) brightly burning (uddīpta) and
- (5) blazing (sūddīpta).
They are gradually reflected in the heart of a sincere pure devotee according to the level of his sādhana. Many people exhibit these bhāvas to impress others or to achieve success in their own activities in this material world, but such demonstrations are not the transcendental sentiments of pure devotion.