Teachings to Rupa Gosvami
Srila Rupa Gosvami, the younger brother of Sanatana Gosvami, went to Prayaga, the modern city of Allahabad, with his younger brother Vallabha. When the two brothers heard that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was staying there, they both became very happy and went to see the Lord. At that time the Lord was on His way to visit the temple Bindumadhava. On the way to the temple, the Lord was chanting and dancing, and thousands of people were following Him. Some of these people were crying, and some were laughing. Some were dancing, and some were singing, and some were falling on the ground, offering obeisances to the Lord. In all cases, all of them were roaring the holy name of Krsna. It is said that in spite of being at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, Prayaga was never flooded until the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, at which time the city was overflooded by love of Krsna.
The two brothers, Rupa Gosvami and Vallabha, stayed aloof in an uncrowded place and witnessed the great crowd and wonderful scene. When the Lord danced, He raised His arms and shouted, "Haribol! Haribol!" The people all about Him were astonished to see His wonderful activities. After visiting the temple, the Lord accepted prasada (food offered to the Deity) at the house of a Deccanist (Southern) brahmana. While at the brahmana's home, the Lord was visited by Rupa Gosvami and Vallabha. From a distance the two brothers fell down on the ground to offer obeisances, and they chanted many Sanskrit verses from the scriptures. When the Lord saw Rupa Gosvami offering obeisances before Him, He became very pleased and asked him to get up. The Lord then informed Rupa Gosvami of the causeless mercy of Krsna upon him, for Krsna had just delivered him from a materialistic way of life based simply on pound-shilling-pence.
The Lord accepted the two brothers as His own devotees, and He cited one verse from the scriptures which stated that it is possible for a brahmana, who has studied the four Vedas, to not be accepted as a devotee of the Lord and that a pure devotee could come from a very low family and yet be accepted by Him. Then the Lord embraced the two brothers, and, out of His causeless mercy, touched their heads with His lotus feet. Being blessed in this way, the brothers offered prayers to the Lord in their own words. The prayers indicated that Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu was Krsna Himself, that He had assumed the form and fair complexion of Caitanya and was thus known as Gauranga (the golden one), and that He was the most munificent incarnation of Krsna because He was distributing love of Krsna. Srila Rupa Gosvami also quoted one verse which was later found in the book Govinda-lilamrta (1.2):
yo 'jnana-mattam bhuvanam dayalur
ullaghayann apy akarot pramattam
sri-krsna-caitanyam amum prapadye
"Let me surrender unto the lotus feet of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the most merciful Personality of Godhead. He delivers those souls who are merged in ignorance and offers them the highest gift, love of Krsna, and thus makes them mad for Krsna consciousness."
After this incident, Vallabha Bhatta invited the Lord to go to the other side of the Ganges, and the Lord went. From that moment on, wherever the Lord went, Rupa Gosvami would follow Him and stay with Him. Because the Lord felt inconvenienced in crowded places, He asked Rupa Gosvami to accompany Him to a place on the banks of the Ganges known as Dasasvamedha-ghata. For ten days He instructed Rupa Gosvami about the truth of Krsna, the principles of devotional service and the transcendental relationships with Krsna. All of this was described in full detail so that in the future Rupa Gosvami could distribute this science of Krsna in his book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Indeed, Srila Rupa Gosvami described this incident in the first verse of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, in which he speaks of the causeless mercy of the Lord upon him.
The Supreme Lord is cognizant and all-powerful, and by His causeless mercy He empowers a living entity to receive His mercy. Being under the spell of conditional life, people in general are averse to rendering devotional service and practicing Krsna consciousness. In fact, most people are unaware of the principal teachings of Krsna consciousness regarding one's eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the ultimate goal of life, which is to return home, back to Godhead. Nor are people aware of the process by which one can return to the spiritual world. Because these important subject matters are unknown to the conditioned soul, Lord Caitanya, out of His causeless mercy, instructed Rupa Gosvami in the principles of devotional service. Later, for the good of the people in general, Rupa Gosvami distributed this information of the science of devotional service.
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Caitanyadeva, because due to His inspiration I feel the desire within my heart to write something about devotional service. For this reason I am engaged in writing this book on the science of devotion known as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu."
When Lord Caitanya began His instructions to Rupa Gosvami, He first told him, "My dear Rupa, the science of devotional service is just like the great ocean, and it is not possible to show you all its length and breadth. However, I shall try to explain the nature of that ocean by taking just one drop out of it. In this way you can taste it and understand what that ocean of devotional service actually is.
The Lord then explained that within this brahmanda, or universe, there are innumerable living entities who, according to their own fruitive activities, are transmigrating from one species of life to another and from one planet to another. In this way their encagement in material existence has been continuing since time immemorial. In actuality, these living entities are atomic parts and parcels of the supreme spirit. It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that the length and breadth of the individual soul is approximately 1/10,000th part of the tip of a hair-in other words, it is so small that it is invisible. This is also confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad. In the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one of the four Kumaras, known as Sanandana, gave the following speech upon performing a great sacrifice: "O Supreme Truth! If the living entities were not infinitesimal sparks of the supreme spirit, each minute spark would be all-pervading and would not be controlled by a superior power. But if the living entity is accepted as a minute part and parcel of the Supreme Lord he automatically becomes controlled by a supreme energy or power. The latter is his actual constitutional position, and if he remains in this position he can attain full freedom." (SB 10.87.30) If one mistakenly considers his position to be equal to that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he becomes contaminated by the doctrine of nonduality, and his efforts in transcendental life are rendered ineffective.
Lord Caitanya elaborated on these teachings of Srimad-Bhagavatam by pointing out that there are two kinds of living entities-the eternally liberated and the eternally conditioned. The eternally conditioned living entities can be divided into two types-moving and nonmoving. Those entities which cannot move-like trees, for example-remain in one place and are classified as nonmoving entities, and those that move-such as the birds and beasts-are called jangama (moving entities) and are further divided into three categories: those that fly in the sky, those that swim in the water, and those that walk on land. Out of the many millions and trillions of living entities on land, human beings comprise only a small portion. Out of that small number of human beings, most are totally ignorant of spiritual life, are unclean in their habits and have no faith in the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In short, most human beings live like animals. These can actually be deducted from the number of human beings that comprise human or civilized life. It is very difficult to find a few human beings who believe in the scriptures and the existence of God, or, for that matter, in proper behavior. Those who do believe in the value of these things are known as arya, a word denoting those who believe in advancing in spiritual life. Out of those who believe in the value of the scriptures and the advancement of human civilization, there are two classes-the righteous and the unrighteous. Those who are righteous generally execute fruitive activities in order to derive some good result for sense gratification. Out of many such persons who engage in righteous activities for sense gratification, only a few come to know about the Absolute Truth. These are called jnanis, empiric philosophers. Out of many hundreds and thousands of such empiric philosophers, only a handful actually attain liberation. When one is liberated, he theoretically understands that the living entity is not composed of material elements but is spirit soul, distinct from matter. Simply by theoretically understanding this doctrine, one can be called liberated, but actually a mukta, or liberated soul, is he who understands his constitutional position as an eternal servant of the Lord. Such liberated souls engage with faith and devotion in the service of the Lord, and they are called krsna-bhaktas, or Krsna conscious persons.
Krsna-bhaktas are free from all material desires. Those who are liberated theoretically by knowing simply that the living entity is not material may still have desires, although they may be technically classified amongst liberated souls. Their main desire is to become one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally such persons are very much attached to Vedic rituals and righteous activities, performing them in order to enjoy material prosperity. Even when some of them transcend material enjoyment, they still try to enjoy the spiritual world by merging into the existence of the Supreme Lord. Some of them are also desirous of attaining mystic powers through the execution of yoga. As long as these desires are within one's heart, he cannot understand the nature of pure devotional service. When one is constantly being agitated by such desires, he is not peaceful. Indeed, as long as there is any desire for material perfection at all, one cannot be at peace. Since the devotees of Lord Krsna do not desire anything material, they are the only peaceful persons within this material world. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam:
"O great sage, out of many millions of liberated persons and persons who have achieved success in mystic yoga, one who is completely devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who is filled with peace is very hard to find." (SB 6.14.5)
In this way Lord Caitanya explained that of the many thousands and millions of living entities wandering in the material world, one who by the grace of Lord Krsna and the spiritual master gets the seed of devotional service is very rare and fortunate. A pious or religious man is generally inclined to worship deities in various temples, but if by chance, even without his knowledge, he offers his obeisances to Lord Visnu or receives the favor of a Vaisnava, a devotee of the Lord, he at that time acquires the asset necessary to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is clearly understood from the life story of the great sage Narada, which is related in Srimad-Bhagavatam. By serving Vaisnavas in his previous life, Narada was favored by the devotees of the Lord and became a great sage. Indeed, amongst sages Narada Muni is considered to be the greatest.
Vaisnavas, or devotees, are usually very compassionate upon conditioned souls. Without even being invited, a devotee will go from door to door to enlighten people and to bring them out of the darkness of nescience by injecting knowledge of the living entity's constitutional position as a servant of Lord Krsna. Such devotees are empowered by the Lord to distribute devotional consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, to the people in general. They are known as authorized spiritual masters, and it is by their mercy that a conditioned soul gets the seed of devotional service. The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is first appreciated when one comes in touch with a bona fide spiritual master who can bring the conditioned soul to the highest position of devotional life. Therefore Lord Caitanya said that by the mercy of the spiritual master one can achieve the causeless mercy of the Lord, and by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can attain the mercy of the bona fide spiritual master.
Thus by the mercy of the spiritual master and Krsna, one receives the seed of devotional service. He has only to sow the seed in the field of his heart, just as a gardener sows the seed of a valuable tree. After sowing this seed, one has to water it in the form of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Supreme Lord or by taking part in discussions about the science of devotional service in a society of pure devotees. When the plant of devotional service sprouts up from the seed of devotion, it begins to grow freely. When it is full grown, it surpasses the length and breadth of this universe and enters into the transcendental atmosphere, where everything is bathed in the effulgence of the brahmajyoti. The plant even penetrates this brahmajyoti and gradually enters the planet known as Goloka Vrndavana. There the plant takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. That is the ultimate goal of devotional service. After attaining this position, the plant produces fruit, which is known as the fruit of love of Godhead. However, it is necessary for the devotee, or transcendental gardener, to pour water on the plant daily by chanting and hearing. Unless one waters the plant by chanting and hearing, there is every chance that it will dry up.
Lord Caitanya pointed out to Rupa Gosvami that there was a certain danger to be encountered while watering the root of the devotional plant. After the plant has grown some bit, an animal may come and either eat or destroy it. When green leaves of a plant are taken by some animal, the plant generally dies. The most dangerous animal is considered a mad elephant, for if a mad elephant enters into a garden, it causes tremendous damage to plants and trees. An offense to a pure devotee of the Lord is called vaisnavaparadha, the mad elephant offense. In the discharge of devotional service, an offense to the feet of a pure devotee can create havoc. Thus one has to defend the plant of bhakti by tending it properly and taking care not to commit offenses. If one is cautious, the plant can properly thrive.
There are ten principal offenses which can be committed against the holy name. The first is to blaspheme the great devotees who have tried to spread the glories of the holy name throughout the world. The holy name of Krsna is nondifferent from Krsna, and one who attempts to spread the holy names throughout the world is beloved of Him. Krsna Himself does not tolerate offenses against His pure devotees. The second offense is to deny that Lord Visnu is the Absolute Truth. There is no difference between His name, quality, form, pastimes and activities, and one who sees a difference is considered an offender. The Lord is Supreme, and no one is equal to or greater than Him. Consequently if one thinks that the Lord's names are nondifferent from the names of demigods, he offends. The Supreme Lord and the demigods should never be considered on the same level.
The third offense is to consider the bona fide spiritual master to be a common man. The fourth offense is to blaspheme Vedic literature and authorized scriptures like the Puranas. The fifth offense is to consider the glories attributed to the holy names to be exaggerations. The sixth offense is to concoct perverted theories about the holy name. The seventh offense is to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name. It is understood that by chanting the holy names one is free from sinful reactions, but this does not mean that one should act sinfully on the strength of chanting. That is the greatest offense. The eighth offense is to consider that religious rituals, austerity, sacrifices or other forms of renunciation are equal to chanting the holy name. Chanting the holy name is as good as associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pious activities are only means to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they can even be performed for some material reason. The ninth offense is to preach the glories of the holy name of God to a faithless person who is not interested in hearing them. The tenth and last offense is to maintain material attachment even after hearing and chanting the holy names of God. The idea is that by chanting the holy name without offense, one can obtain elevation to the liberated platform. On the liberated platform one is freed from all material attachment. Thus if one chants the holy names and still has material attachments, he must be committing some offense.
There are also other factors which disturb the plant of devotional service. Along with this plant the weeds of material desires also grow. When a person advances in bhakti, it is natural that many persons will come to him requesting to become disciples and will offer him some material gains. If one is attracted by a large number of disciples and material conveniences offered by these disciples and forgets his duty as a bona fide master, the growth of the plant will be impeded. Simply by taking advantage of material conveniences one may become addicted to enjoying material comforts.
It is also considered to be disadvantageous to desire liberation. The only desire should be the desire to render service. Neglect of restrictions and prohibitions is also disadvantageous. The prohibitions are mentioned in the authorized scriptures: One should not indulge in illicit sex life, intoxication, meat eating or gambling. These things are forbidden to one who is attempting devotional service. If one does not follow these principles strictly, there may be a severe disturbance in the discharge of devotional service.
If one is not particularly careful, even by watering the plant of devotional service, unnecessary weeds will grow and hamper progress. The idea is that when one waters a garden, not only does the desired plant grow more rapidly, but the unwanted plants grow also. If the gardener does not see these impediments and take them out, they will overcome and choke the plant of devotion. If, however, one is careful to guard against the growth of unwanted plants, the plant of devotion grows luxuriantly and reaches the ultimate goal, Goloka Vrndavana. When the living entity engaged in devotional service relishes the fruit of love of Godhead, he forgets all religious ritual and improvements in his economic condition. He no longer desires to satisfy his senses, and he no longer desires to become one with the Supreme Lord by merging into His effulgence.
There are many phases of spiritual knowledge and transcendental bliss. On one platform are the ritualistic sacrifices recommended in the Vedas, the execution of austerities and pious duties, and the practice of mystic yoga. These all reward different results to their performer. The rewards of these practices, however, appear to be very glittering as long as one is not elevated to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Love of God is dormant in everyone, and it can be awakened from its dormant position by the execution of pure devotional service, just as a person bitten by a serpent can be awakened by ammonia.
After speaking in this way about devotional service, Lord Caitanya begins to describe devotional service and its symptoms to Rupa Gosvami. He explains that in pure devotional service there can be no desire other than the desire to advance in Krsna consciousness. In Krsna consciousness there is no scope for worshiping any demigod or any other form of Krsna, nor is there room for indulgence in speculative empiric philosophy, nor indulgence in fruitive activities. One should be free from all these contaminations. A devotee should accept only those things that are favorable to keep his body and soul together and should reject those things that increase the demands of the body. Only the bare necessities for bodily maintenance should be accepted. By minimizing bodily necessities, one can primarily devote his time to the cultivation of Krsna consciousness through the chanting of the holy names of God. Pure devotional service means engaging all the senses of the body in the service of the Lord. At the present moment, our senses are all designated because the body is designated. Consequently we think that this body belongs to a particular society or a particular country or a particular family. In this way the body is bound by so many designations. Similarly, the senses belong to the body, and when the body is subject to such designations, the senses are also. Thus the senses engage themselves on behalf of family, society, nation and so on. When they are so engaged, they cannot cultivate Krsna consciousness. The senses must be purified, and this is possible when one purely understands that he belongs to Krsna and that his life belongs to Krsna. The devotee should see his identity as an eternal servant of Krsna. In this way one can engage his senses in the service of the Lord. Such engagement is called pure devotional service.
A pure devotee accepts the transcendental loving service of the Lord but rejects ali kinds of liberation for his personal sense gratification. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.29.11-13) Lord Kapila explains that as soon as a pure devotee hears the glories and transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyone's heart, his mind immediately flows toward the Lord, just as the waters of the Ganges flow toward the sea. Such spontaneous attraction to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is most important to pure devotional service. Devotional service is pure when one engages in the service of the Supreme Lord without any motive and without being hampered with material impediments. The pure devotee does not desire to live on the same planet with the Supreme Lord, nor does he desire the same opulence as the Lord, nor does he desire to have the same form as the Lord, nor to live with Him side by side, nor to merge into His existence, etc. Even if the devotee were offered such rewards by the Lord, he would reject them. The point is that a devotee is so much absorbed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord that he has no time to think of any benefit beyond his immediate engagement. Just as an ordinary materialistic businessman thinks of nothing else when he is absorbed in his business, a pure devotee, when engaged in the service of the Lord, does not think of anything beyond that engagement.
If one is so absorbed in the rendering of service, he can be understood to be elevated to the highest position of bhakti. By such transcendental loving service alone can one surpass the influence of maya and relish pure love of Godhead. As long as one desires material benefit or liberation, which are called the two witches of allurement, he cannot relish the taste of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord.
There are three stages of devotional service: The first is the beginning stage of cultivation, the second is the realization of service, and the third, the supreme stage, is the attainment of love of Godhead. There are nine different methods of cultivating devotional service-such as hearing, chanting, remembering, etc.-and all these processes are employed in the first stage. If one is engaged in chanting and hearing with devotion and faith, his material misgivings gradually become vanquished. As his faith in devotional service gradually increases, he becomes assured of a higher perfectional position. In this way one can become firmly fixed in devotion, increase his taste for it, become attached and feel ecstasy. This ecstasy occurs in the preliminary stage of love of Godhead. Attainment of ecstasy is produced by execution of devotional service. When one continues the process of hearing and chanting, attachment grows and assumes the name of love of Godhead.
When one attains the third stage of transcendental love of God, there occur further developments known as transcendental affection, emotion, ecstasy, and extreme and intense attachment. These are technically known by the terms raga, anuraga, bhava and mahabhava. The progress from one stage to another can be compared to the thickening of sugar candy juice. In the first stage sugar candy juice is like a thin liquid. When, by evaporation, it becomes thicker and thicker, it turns into molasses. Finally it turns into granules and becomes sugar, rock candy and so on. Just as liquid sugar juice progresses from one stage to another, similarly transcendental love for the Supreme Lord develops by stages.
When one actually becomes situated on the transcendental platform, he becomes steady. Unless one is so situated, his position may not be steady and he may fall down. When one is actually situated transcendentally, there is no fear of falling down. This stage of understanding is technically called sthayi-bhava. There are even stages beyond this position, and they are known as vibhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari. After one attains these, there is actually an exchange of rasa, or transcendental activity with the Supreme Lord. This exchange in loving reciprocation between the lover and the beloved is generally called krsna-bhakti-rasa. It should be noted that the transcendental loving exchanges stand on the steadfast position of sthayi-bhava, as explained before. The basic principle of vibhava is sthayi-bhava, and all other activities are auxiliary for the development of transcendental love.
The ecstasy of transcendental love has two components-the context and the cause of the excitement. The context is also divided into two parts-the subject and the object. The exchange of devotional service is the subject, and Krsna is the object. The transcendental qualities are the causes of excitement. This means that the transcendental qualities of Krsna excite the devotee to serve Him. The impersonal (Mayavadi) philosophers say that the Absolute Truth has no specific qualities, but the Vaisnava philosophers say that the Absolute Truth is described as nirguna (without qualities) because He has no material qualities. This is not to say that He does not have spiritual qualities. Indeed, the Lord's spiritual qualities are so great and so enchanting that they can even attract a liberated person. This is explained in the atmarama verse of the Srimad-Bhagavatam where it is said that those who are already situated on the platform of self-realization are attracted by the transcendental qualities of Krsna. This means that Krsna's qualities are not material but pure and transcendental.
The higher stage of ecstasy can be characterized by the following thirteen transcendental activities: (1) dancing, (2) rolling on the floor, (3) singing, (4) clapping, (5) bristling of the hairs of the body, (6) thundering, (7) yawning, (8) breathing heavily, (9) forgetting social conventions, (10) salivating, (11) laughing, (12) aching, (13) coughing. All these symptoms are not awakened simultaneously; they act according to the exchange of transcendental relationships. Sometimes one symptom is prominent, and at another time another is prominent.
The transcendental rasas, or relationships, can be divided into five. The initial stage is called santa-rati, wherein one who is liberated from material contamination appreciates the greatness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who attains this stage does not exactly engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, for this is a neutral stage. In the second stage, which is called dasya-rati, a person appreciates his position as being everlastingly subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and he understands that he is eternally dependent on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Person. At that same time there is an awakening of natural affection, such as is felt by a son who grows up and begins to appreciate his father's benedictions. At this stage the living entity wants to serve the Supreme Lord instead of serving maya, illusion. In the third stage, called sakhya-rati, transcendental love is developed, and one associates with the Supreme on an equal level of love and respect. As this stage is further developed, there is joking and such relaxed exchanges as laughing and so on. On this level there are fraternal exchanges with the Supreme Person, and one is free from all bondage. At this stage one practically forgets his inferior position as a living entity, but at the same time he has the greatest respect for the Supreme Person.
In the fourth stage, called vatsalya-rati, the fraternal affection evinced in the preceding stage develops into paternal affection. At this time the living entity tries to be the parent of God. Instead of worshiping the Lord, the living entity, as a parent of the Supreme, becomes an object of worship for the Supreme Person. At this stage the Lord depends on the mercy of His pure devotee and puts Himself under the control of the devotee to be raised. The devotee in this stage attains the position wherein he can embrace the Supreme Lord and even kiss His head. In the fifth stage, called madhura-rati, there is an actual transcendental exchange of conjugal love between the lover and the beloved. It is at this stage that Krsna and the damsels of Vraja glanced at one another, for on this platform there is an exchange of loving glances, motions of the eyes, pleasant words, attractive smiles, etc.
Besides these five primary rasas, or relationships, there are seven secondary rasas which consist of laughing, having wonderful visions, entering into a chivalrous relationship, experiencing pity, feeling anger and experiencing ghastliness and devastation. For example, Bhisma related to Krsna as a warrior in the chivalrous rasa. Hiranyakasipu, however, experienced an exchange of the ghastly and devastating rasa. The five primary rasas constantly remain within the heart of the pure devotee, and the seven secondary rasas sometimes appear and disappear to enrich the flavors and tastes of the primary ones. After enriching the primary rasas, they disappear.
Examples of santa-bhaktas, or devotees in the neutral stage, are the nine yogis named Kavi, Havi, Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Dravida or Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana. The four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatana) are also examples of this stage. Examples of devotees in the second stage, the dasya stage of servitorship, are Raktaka, Citraka and Patraka in the Gokula rasa. These all function as servants of Krsna. In Dvaraka there is Daruka, and in the Vaikuntha planets there are Hanuman and others. Devotees in the third stage, the stage of friendship, are Sridama in Vrndavana and Bhima and Arjuna in Dvaraka and on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. There are many others also. As far as those relating to Krsna in paternal love, they include devotees like Yasoda and Maharaja Nanda-that is, Krsna's mother, father, uncle and similar relatives. In conjugal love there are the damsels of Vraja, Vrndavana, and the queens and goddesses of fortune in Dvaraka. No one can count the vast number of devotees in this rasa.
Attachment to Krsna can also be broken down into two categories. On one platform there is attachment with awe and veneration. This type of attachment might be characterized by a certain lack of freedom, and it is exhibited in Mathura and in the Vaikuntha planets. In these abodes of the Lord, the spirit of transcendental loving service is restricted. However, in Gokula Vrndavana, love is freely exchanged, and although the cowherd boys and damsels of Vrndavana know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they do not show awe and veneration because of the great intimacy of their relationship with Him. In the five principal transcendental relationships, awe and veneration are sometimes impediments obscuring the Lord's actual greatness and sometimes they actually impede one's service to the Lord. When there is friendship, paternal affection and conjugal love, however such awe and veneration are reduced. For instance, when Krsna appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, His parents prayed to the Lord with awe and veneration because they understood that the Supreme Lord Krsna or Visnu had appeared before them as their little child. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.44.51). Although the Supreme Lord was present as their child, Devaki and Vasudeva began to pray to Him. Similarly, when Arjuna saw the universal form of the Lord, he was so afraid that he begged pardon for his dealings with Krsna as an intimate friend. As a friend, Arjuna often behaved unceremoniously with the Lord, and upon seeing the awesome universal form, Arjuna said:
sakheti matva prasabham yad uktam
he krsna he yadava he sakheti
ajanata mahimanam tavedam
maya pramadat pranayena vapi
yac cavahasartham asatkrto 'si
eko 'thavapy acyuta tat-samaksam
tat ksamaye tvam aham aprameyam
"I have in the past addressed You as 'O Krsna,' 'O Yadava,' 'O my friend,' without knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times while relaxing or while lying on the same bed or eating together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. Please excuse me for all my offenses." (Bg. 11.41-42)
Similarly, when Krsna was playing jokes on Rukmini, she feared that Krsna might leave her and became so perturbed that she dropped the fan with which she was fanning Him and fainted, falling unconscious on the floor. As far as Yasoda, Krsna's mother in Vrndavana, is concerned, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (SB 10.8.45):
The Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by all the Vedas and Upanisads, as well as by the sankhya system of philosophy and all authorized scriptures, was considered to be born in her womb. It is also stated (SB 10.9.12) that Mother Yasoda bound the child Krsna with a rope, as if He were an ordinary son born of her body. Similarly, there are other descriptions of Krsna's being treated as an ordinary person (SB 10.18.24). Indeed, when He was defeated in games with His friends, the cowherd boys, Krsna would carry them-notably Sridama-on His shoulders.
Regarding the dealings of the gopis with Sri Krsna in Vrndavana, it is described (SB 10.30.36-40) that when Sri Krsna took Srimati Radhika alone from the rasa dance, She thought that Krsna had left all the other gopis. Although they were all equally beautiful, He satisfied Her in this way, and She began to think proudly, "My dear Lord Krsna has left the beautiful gopis, and He is satisfied with Me alone." In the forest, She told Krsna, "My dear Krsna, I am unable to move anymore. Now if You like You can take Me wherever You desire." Krsna replied, "Come lean against My shoulder," and as soon as He said this, He disappeared, whereupon Srimati Radhika repined greatly.
When Krsna disappeared from the scene of the rasa dance, all the gopis began to repent, saying, "Dear Krsna! We have come here and have left aside our husbands, sons, relatives, brothers and friends! Neglecting their advice, we have come to You, and You best know the reason for our coming here. You know that we have come because we are captivated by the sweet sound of Your flute. But You are so cunning that in the dead of night You have left girls and women like us! This is not very good for You."
The word sama means controlling the mind and keeping it from being diverted in various ways by fixing it on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one's mind is fixed on the Supreme Lord, he is known to be situated on the sama platform. On that platform the devotee understands that Krsna is the basic principle behind everything that is within one's experience. This is also explained in Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 7.19). Such a person can understand that Krsna is present in everything and is distributed all over the cosmic manifestation. Although everything is under the control of the Supreme Lord and is situated in His energy, everything is nonetheless different from Krsna in His personal form. It is also stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu that one who understands this, whose intelligence is fixed on Krsna, has attained the platform of sama. Moreover, the Supreme Personality of Godhead says: samo mannisthata buddheh: Unless one is elevated to the platform of santa-rati, he cannot be fixed in knowledge of the greatness of Krsna or of the diffusion of His different energies, which are the cause of all manifestations. This same point is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (SB 11.19.36):
Stability of mind can be achieved by one who has concluded that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of everything. And when one can control his senses, that is called sama. When one is ready to tolerate all kinds of sufferings in order to control the senses and keep the mind steady, that is called titiksa, or tolerance. And when one can control the urges of the tongue and genitals, that is called dhrtih. From dhrtih, one becomes dhira, pacified. A pacified person is never disturbed by the urges of the tongue and the genitals.
If one can fix his mind on Krsna without deviation, he can attain a steadfast position in Krsna consciousness, santa-rasa. When one attains santa-rasa, unflinching faith in Krsna is established, and all material desires cease. These specific characteristics of santa-rasa-unflinching faith in Krsna and cessation of all desires which are not connected with Krsna-are common to all other rasas as well, just as sound is generally present in all other elements (air, fire, water and earth) because it is produced from the sky. Similarly, these two characteristics of santa-rasa are present in other transcendental relationships, such as dasya (servitorship), sakhya (fraternity), vatsalya (paternal affection), and the madhura-rasa (conjugal love).
When we speak of non-Krsna, or desire which has no connection with Krsna, this does not mean that anything exists without Krsna. Actually there cannot be anything "non-Krsna" because everything is a product of the energy of Krsna. Since Krsna and His energies are identical, everything is Krsna indirectly. For example, consciousness is common to every living entity, but when consciousness is purely centered on Krsna (Krsna consciousness), it is pure, and when consciousness is centered on something other than Krsna, or when it is directed to sense gratification, it may be called non-Krsna consciousness. Thus it is in the polluted state that the conception of non-Krsna comes. In the pure state, however, there is nothing but Krsna consciousness.
Active interest in Krsna-the understanding that Krsna is mine or that I am Krsna's, and that therefore my business is to satisfy the senses of Krsna-is typical of a higher stage than the neutrality of the santa-rasa. Simply by understanding the greatness of Krsna, one can achieve the status of santa-rasa, in which the worshipable object may be the impersonal Brahman or Paramatma. Worship of the impersonal Brahman and the Paramatma is conducted by those engaged in empiric philosophical speculation and mystic yoga. However, when one develops even further in Krsna consciousness, or spiritual understanding, he can appreciate that the Paramatma, the Supersoul, is the eternal worshipable object, and he surrenders unto Him. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate (Bg. 7.19): "After many, many births of worshiping Brahman and Paramatma, when one surrenders unto Vasudeva as the supreme master and accepts himself as the eternal servitor of Vasudeva, he becomes a great transcendentally realized soul." At that time, due to his thick and thin relationship with the Supreme Absolute Truth, one begins to render some sort of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the neutral relationship known as santa-rasa is transformed into dasya-rasa, servitorship.
On the platform of dasya-rasa, the greatest quantity of awe and veneration of the Supreme Lord is exhibited. That is, in the dasya-rasa, the greatness of the Supreme Lord is appreciated. It should be noted here that on the platform of santa-rasa there is no spiritual activity, but on the platform of dasya-rasa, service begins. Thus in the dasya-rasa the quality of the santa-rasa is exhibited, and, in addition, there is consciousness of the transcendental taste of service.
Transcendental qualities are certainly present in the santa-rasa and dasya-rasa, but beyond these there is another quality, confidential attachment, which is pure transcendental love. This loving confidence in the Supreme Personality is technically known as visrambha. On the platform of visrambha, fraternity, there is no sense of awe or veneration towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus in the transcendental fraternal relationship known as sakhya-rasa, there are three transcendental characteristics: the sense of greatness, the sense of service, and the sense of intimacy without awe or veneration. Thus in the sakhya-rasa, the relationship of fraternity, the transcendental qualities are further increased.
Similarly, on the platform of paternal affection (vatsalya-rasa) there are four qualities. In addition to the three qualities already mentioned, there is the sense that the Supreme Lord is dependent on the mercy of the devotee. As a parent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee sometimes chastises the Lord and considers himself to be the Lord's maintainer. This transcendental sense of being the maintainer of the supreme maintainer is very pleasing both to the devotee and to the Supreme Lord.
The Lord instructed Srila Rupa Gosvami to write the transcendental literature named Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the science of devotional service, and indicate therein the substance of these five transcendental relationships. It is explained in that great literature how the transcendental relationship of santa-rasa, taking the shape of unflinching faith in Krsna, is further developed into dasya-rasa with the spirit of service, and then to sakhya-rasa or undeterred fraternity, and further to the transcendental platform of paternal love, wherein one feels himself to be maintaining the Lord. All these relationships culminate on the highest platform of conjugal love (madhura-rasa), wherein all these transcendental relationships exist simultaneously.
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