Vijaya Kumara was absent for about a month. During this time, Vrajanatha’s grandmother, who understood the dispositions of both Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara, arranged for a suitable bride through a brahmana mediator. When Vijaya Kumara was informed, he sent his younger brother to Bilva-puskarini to organize the wedding ceremony, which was duly performed at an astrologically auspicious time on an auspicious day.
Vijaya Kumara arrived some time later, when all the marriage proceedings had been completed. He sat without much interest in the situation around him, and did not discuss worldly affairs such as health and prosperity, for his heart was deeply absorbed in spiritual matters. Vrajanatha detected his indifference, and said, “Uncle, your heart appears to be uncertain these days. Why is that? It is simply by your order that I am bound in the shackles of worldly life. What have you decided to do yourself?”
Vijaya Kumara said, “I have decided to finally go to Sridhama Puri to have the darsana of Sri Purusottama (Sri Jagannathadeva). Some pilgrims are setting out for Puri in a few days, and I will also go with them. I shall go and take permission from Sri Gurudeva.”
After taking lunch that afternoon, Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara went to Mayapura, where they offered dandavat-pranama at Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji’s feet and begged his permission to make a pilgrimage to Puri. Babaji Mahasaya was delighted to hear their plea. His heart melted with affection and he said, “It is very good that you are going to Puri to take darsana of Sri Jagannathadeva. Sriman Mahaprabhu’s sitting place is in Kasi Misra’s house in Puri, and Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami, the disciple of Sri Vakresvara Pandita, is present there now in all his glory. Be sure to have his darsana and accept his instructions with devotion. Nowadays, it is only in that mahatma’s throat that the splendor of Sri Svarupa Gosvami’s teachings is fully manifest.”
Having received Sri Gurudeva’s permission, Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara joyfully returned home. On the way, at Vrajanatha’s eager request, Vijaya Kumara agreed to also take him to Puri. When they arrived home, they disclosed their plans for the pilgrimage to everyone. Vrajanatha’s grandmother was also ready to go with them, so finally it was decided that all three would go to Puri together.
The famous Ratha-yatra of Sri Jagannatha, Sri Baladeva and Sri Subhadra-devi is held in Puri in the month of Asarha (June-July). At that time, those who are dedicated to dharma flood in from all corners of India and descend on Puri en masse. For this reason, pilgrims from distant places set out from their homes many days beforehand in order to arrive in good time. The month of Jyestha (May-June) had scarcely begun when these three also set out for Puri, along with the other pilgrims. After walking for some days, they passed Dantana and arrived in Jalesvara. Gradually moving on, they took darsana of Ksiracora Gopinatha, and came to Sri Viraja-ksetra, where they performed nabhigaya-kriya and took bath in the Vaitarani. Later, they had darsana of Sri Saksi Gopala in Kataka, and Sri Lingaraja in Ekamra-kanana, and finally arrived in Sri Ksetra, Puri-dhama.
All the pilgrims were accommodated in various places as directed by their respective pandas (guardian priests). Vijaya Kumara, Vrajanatha, and Vrajanatha’s grandmother found lodgings at Haracandi Sahi. In accordance with the regulative principles, they took bath in the sea, and then went for darsana of Sri Jagannatha. They began to take darsana, perform parikrama, and honor the prasada of the various tirthas of that dhama. After three or four days, Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha had darsana of the sri-vigraha of Sriman Mahaprabhu as well as His footprints, and also His fingerprints impressed on the Garuda stambha (column of Garuda) in the temple of Sri Jagannathadeva. When Sriman Mahaprabhu took darsana of Sri Jagannathadeva, He would become overwhelmed with prema and streams of tears would flow from His eyes. At such times, the stones beneath His feet melted from His touch and were marked with His footprints. At the same time, His prema also melted the Garuda stambha, which He used to support Himself, and the marks of His fingers became imprinted there. When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha saw these impressions, they became overwhelmed with prema.
That same day they went to Kasi Misra Bhavan. In that great house constructed from stone is Sri Gambhira, the small room in which Sriman Mahaprabhu would reside in His state of prema. There, in order to console Him when He was immersed in feelings of separation from Krsna, His dear associates, Sri Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda, would recite slokas and sing bhajanas about the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha took darsana of that place, and of Sriman Mahaprabhu‘s paraphernalia, such as His wooden sandals, that are gloriously present there. On one side, within, is the mandira of Sri Radha-Kanta, and on the other side was the seat of Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami.
Vijaya and Vrajanatha fell at Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami’s feet. They were carried away in the happiness of prema and began to shed tears. Sri Guru Gosvami was very pleased to see their ecstatic sentiments and embraced them. He made them sit down close to him and immediately asked, “I wish to know who you are.” When Vijaya and Vrajanatha introduced themselves, Guru Gosvami’s eyes began to stream with tears of love. Hearing the name of Sri Navadvipa, he said, “Today I have become blessed by seeing the residents of Sridhama Navadvipa. Tell me, how are the Vaisnavas in Mayapura, such as Sri Raghunatha dasa and Goracanda dasa? Are they well? Aho! When I remember Raghunatha dasa, the memories of my siksa-guru Sri Dasa Gosvami come to my mind.”
Guru Gosvami called his disciple, Sri Dhyanacandra, and said, “These two mahatmas will take prasada here today.” Sri Dhyanacandra took them both to his room and offered them sri-mahaprasada. Afterwards the three of them discussed many subjects. Dhyanacandra Gosvami was overjoyed when he saw Vijaya Kumara’s vast erudition in Srimad-Bhagavatam, and recognized Vrajanatha as a fine scholar of all the sastras. He related all their discussions to Sri Guru Gosvami, who was also delighted to hear of their expertise in sastra. Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami called them near to him, and said, “You are both very dear to me. Kindly allow me to see you every day, as long as you stay in Sri Purusottama Dhama.”
Vijaya Kumara humbly replied, “O Prabhu! Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji of Sri Mayapura has bestowed great mercy upon us. He has given us so much siksa, and he ordered us to accept instructions at your divine feet.”
Guru Gosvami said, “Raghunatha dasa Babaji is a highly learned scholar, and you should follow his instructions thoroughly. If you want to know anything further, you may come here tomorrow afternoon and present your inquiries. You may honor mahaprasada here tomorrow.” They conversed for some time, and then Vijaya and Vrajanatha took permission from Sri Guru Gosvami and returned to Haracandi Sahi.
The next day, Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha returned to Sri Radha-Kanta Matha at the appointed time. They honored prasada, and then approached Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami. When they had offered their respectful pranama to him, they said, “Prabhu, we want to know about rasa-tattva. Our lives will become successful when we hear about krsna-bhakti-rasa from your lotus mouth. You are the pre-eminent holy master of the Nimananda-sampradaya and you are reigning as jagad-guru on the seat of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s successor, Sri Svarupa Gosvami. We desire to hear rasa-tattva from your divine lips, so that our scholarship may become fruitful.”
Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami was overjoyed, and taking these worthy disciples, to a solitary place, he spoke to them. “Sacinandana Nimai Pandita appeared in Sri Navadvipa-Mayapura, and He is the very life-breath of the bhaktas of Sri Gauda-mandala, Sri Ksetra-mandala and Sri Vraja-mandala. May that Sacinandana give us joy. May Sri Svarupa Gosvami, whose madhura-rasa-seva always fills Sri Mahaprabhu with elation, be manifest in the core of our hearts. Sri Vakresvara Pandita thoroughly captivated Nimai Pandita with his dancing. He also showered his mercy on Devananda Pandita by purifying him and making him Krsna’s bhakta. May that Sri Vakresvara Pandita confer all auspiciousness upon you.
“Rasa is an unequalled tattva which can be compared to the rising of the moon, whose radiance is the expanding lila of parabrahma Sri Krsna. Bhakti-rasa is the function of krsna-bhakti when it becomes absolutely pure.”
Vrajanatha: Is rasa a principle that is predetermined?
Gosvami: I cannot answer that question in a single word, “Yes” or “No.” I will explain the subject elaborately so that you can understand it clearly. The krsna-rati about which you have heard from your Gurudeva is called sthayibhava. When the other components (samagri) of rasa are combined with the sthayibhava, the resultant manifestation is called krsna-bhakti-rasa.
Vrajanatha: Will you kindly explain in detail what is sthayibhava, and what are the constituent ingredients (samagri) of rasa? We have heard from our Gurudeva about bhava, but we have not heard how bhavas combine with each other to form rasa.
Gosvami: Ordinarily, at the stage of bhava, bhakti is krsna-rati. This rati arises in the heart of the bhakta from the samskaras of past and present lives, and develops further to the stage of rasa, when it becomes the very embodiment of ananda. It is made up of four different ingredients: 1) vibhava, 2) anubhava, 3) sattvika and 4) vyabhicari or sancari. I will first explain these ingredients.
Vibhava is the cause of tasting rati, and it has two divisions: alambana (the support) and uddipana (the awakening stimulus). Alambana also has two divisions, namely, the object (visaya) and the abode (asraya). The asraya of rati is the person in whom rati exists, while the visaya of rati is the person towards whom rati is directed. Krsna’s bhaktas are the asraya of rati because they have rati in their hearts, whereas Krsna is the visaya of rati, because rati is directed towards Him.
Vrajanatha: So far we have understood that vibhava is divided into two parts: alambana and uddipana, and that alambana is also divided into two categories, namely, asraya and visaya. Krsna is visaya, and the bhaktas are asraya. Now we are inquisitive to know whether Krsna is sometimes the asraya of rati.
Gosvami: Yes, He is. When bhaktas have rati towards Krsna, Krsna is visaya and the bhaktas are alambana, and when Krsna has rati towards the bhaktas, then Krsna is asraya and the bhaktas are visaya.
Vrajanatha: We have heard from our Gurudeva about Sri Krsna’s sixty-four qualities. If there is anything further to be described in regard to Sri Krsna, please tell us.
Gosvami: Although all the qualities exist fully in Sri Krsna, His manifestation is complete in Dvaraka, more complete in Mathura, and most complete in Gokula. This is because of the degree to which the qualities are manifested in the respective dhamas. Krsna is one, but He plays the parts of four types of heroes (nayaka) according to the differences in His lila. They are 1) dhirodatta, 2) dhira-lalita, 3) dhira-santa and 4) dhiroddhata.
Vrajanatha: What type of nayaka (hero) is dhirodatta?
Gosvami: The symptoms of Krsna as dhirodatta-nayaka are gravity, courtesy, forgiveness, compassion, modesty, and concealed pride.
Vrajanatha: What kind of nayaka is called dhira-lalita?
Gosvami: Krsna falls under the control of His beloved gopis because
He is expert in relishing loving mellows (rasika); He is on
the threshold of youth (nava-yauvana); He is ingenious in joking
(parihasa-caturi); and He is free from anxiety (niscintata). That is
why He is called dhira-lalita-nayaka.
Vrajanatha: And what are the symptoms of dhira-santa?
Gosvami: Krsna is known as dhira-santa-nayaka when He is decorated with the qualities of being naturally sedate, forbearing, judicious and humble.
Vrajanatha: What is dhiroddhata?
Gosvami: Sometimes in His lila, Krsna is also seen to be jealous, egotistical, deceitful, angry, fickle, and boastful. At that time, He is known as dhiroddhata-nayaka.
Vrajanatha: The qualities that you have described are mutually contradictory, so how can they possibly exist at the same time in one Krsna?
Gosvami: Krsna is by nature fully independent, autocratic, and supreme, and He has boundless opulence. It is by the action of Krsna’s acintya-sakti (inconceivable potency) that these contradictory qualities exist in Him at the same time. For example, we read in the Kurma Purana:
asthulas canus caiva / sthulo ’nus caiva sarvatah
avarnah sarvatah proktah / syamo raktantalocanah
aisvarya-yogad bhagavan / viruddhartho ‘bhidhiyate
tathapi doso parame/ naivaharya kathancana
gunaviruddha apy ete / samaharyah samantatah
All contradictory qualities are splendidly and very beautifully manifest in Bhagavan at the same time. Although He is intangible and minute in every way, He is tangible and all pervading in every way. He is devoid of mundane color, but He has a transcendental syama hue, and the corners of His eyes are reddish. This is how He has been described in the sastras. Bhagavan is said to possess contradictory virtues on account of His mystic opulence. Nevertheless, no fault can be attributed to Paramesvara. Although the aggregate of His qualities seems to be contradictory, these qualities are certainly virtues in all respects.
In the Maha-Varaha Purana, it is stated:
sarve nityah sasvatas ca / dehas tasya paratmanah
hanopadana-rahita / naiva prakrti-jah kvacit
paramananda-sandoha / jnana-matras ca sarvatah
sarve sarva-gunaih purnah / sarva-dosa-vivarjitah
All the bodies of that Paramatma are nitya and free from the two types of activities known as ‘giving up’ and ‘accepting’. His bodies are not born from material nature, but are composed of consciousness and are the embodiment of paramananda. Each and every limb of His body is filled with all transcendental qualities and is free from all defects.
astadasa-mahadosaih / rahita bhagavat-tanuh
Bhagavan is endowed with all kinds of superhuman power, perfect knowledge and joy, and His body is free from the eighteen types of general faults.
These eighteen general faults are:
mohas tandra bhramo ruksa-rasata kama ulbanah
lolata mada-matsaryau himsa kheda-parisramau
asatyam krodha akanksa asanka visva-vibhramah
visamatva parapeksa dosa astadasodita
1) illusion, 2) lethargy, 3) bewilderment, 4) dullness, 5) intense lust, 6) fickleness, 7) pride, 8) envy, 9) violence, 10) remorse, 11) desire for excessive peace and comfort, 12) untruthfulness, 13) anger, 14) hankering, 15) fear, 16) hallucination, 17) contradiction, and 18) the tendency to depend on others.
All these transcendental qualities are present in the forms of the avataras, and they are expressed to the utmost extent in Sri Krsna, who is avatari (the origin of all avataras). In addition to these, Krsna possesses a further eight qualities which indicate His manliness (purusatva). These are: 1) sobha (beauty), 2) vilasa (fascinating, transcendental pastimes), 3) madhurya (sweetness), 4) mangalya (auspiciousness), 5) sthirata (stability), 6) teja (brilliance), 7) lalita (playfulness), and 8) audarya (munificence). His beauty is particularly noticeable in kindness towards the lowly, rivalry towards His peers, valor, enthusiasm, dexterity and the revelation of truth. Vilasa is characterized in Him by His profound manner, calm glance and humorous words. His madhurya (sweetness) is noticeable for pleasing loveliness is manifest in all His activities. His auspiciousness is the abode of faith of the entire world. His stability means that He is not deviated in any activity. His brilliance means attracting the attention of everyone towards Himself. He exhibits an abundance of amorous sentiments and endeavors and is thus called lalita (playful). His mood of completely offering Himself is called audarya. Sri Krsna is the crestjewel of all heroes, and in His human-like pastimes, sages such as Garga have been described as His assistants in matters of dharma, ksatriyas such as Yuyudhana in matters of war, and ministers such as Uddhava in matters of counseling.
Vrajanatha: I have fully understood how Krsna is the heroic personification of mellows. Now please tell us about Krsna’s bhaktas who are fit to experience rasa, and who are included in the category of vibhava.
Gosvami: Only those whose hearts are overwhelmed by loving sentiments for Krsna can be bhaktas in rasa-tattva. All of the twenty-nine qualities, from truthfulness to bashfulness (being embarrassed by true statements), which have been described in relation to Krsna, are also found in His bhaktas.
Vrajanatha: How many types of krsna-bhaktas are fit to experience
Gosvami: There are two types: the sadhaka and the siddha.
Vrajanatha: Who is a sadhaka?
Gosvami: Sadhakas are those in whom ruci for the topics of Krsna has arisen, and who have acquired the qualification to have direct darsana of Krsna, but who have not yet completely surpassed all obstacles and difficulties. Madhyama-bhaktas adorned with the symptoms described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.46), isvare tadadhinesu, are in the category of sadhaka.
Vrajanatha: Prabhu, are the bhaktas described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11. 2. 47), arcayam eva haraye not eligible to experience rasa?
Gosvami: They are not sadhakas until they become suddha-bhaktas by the mercy of other suddha-bhaktas. Only personalities like Bilvamangala are genuine sadhakas.
Vrajanatha: Who are the siddha-bhaktas?
Gosvami: Siddha-bhaktas are those who do not experience any suffering, whose activities are all performed under the shelter of Sri Krsna, and who always taste the happiness of prema. There are two types of siddha-bhaktas: those who have gained perfection (samprapta-siddha) and those who are eternally perfect (nityasiddha).
Vrajanatha: Who are the bhaktas who have gained perfection
Gosvami: They are also of two types: those who attained perfection
through sadhana (sadhana-siddha), and those who achieved
perfection by mercy (krpa-siddha).
Vrajanatha: Who are the nitya-siddhas?
Gosvami: Sri Rupa Gosvami has said:
atma-koti-gunam krsne / premanam paramam gatah
nityananda-gunah sarve / nitya-siddha mukundavat
The nitya-siddhas are those who, like Mukunda, are the embodiment of ananda, and whose qualities are eternal. Their main symptom is that they are endowed with a prema for Krsna that is ten million times more than they have even for themselves.
It is said in the Uttara-Khanda of the Padma Purana:
yatha saumitra-bharatau / yatha sankarsanadayah
tatha tenaiva jayante / nija-lokad yadrcchaya
punas tenaiva gacchanti / tat-padam sasvatam param
na karma-bandhanam janma / vaisnavanan ca vidyate
Vaisnavas are not bound by karma, nor do they take birth like mundane human beings. Rather, they appear as Laksmana and Bharata, the sons of Sumitra, appeared with Sri Ramacandra; as Balarama and others appear in this material world with Bhagavan Sri Krsna by His will, and then return again to the eternal transcendental abode along with Him; or as the members of the Yadu dynasty also appear in Bhagavan’s manifest pastimes, and then return with Him to the supreme abode (parama-dhama) when His pastimes become unmanifest.
Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I have understood the alambana aspect of vibhava. Now kindly explain what is referred to as uddipana.
Gosvami: Uddipana is that which causes bhava to be excited or stimulated. Krsna’s qualities, His activities, laughter, and the fragrance of His bodily limbs, His flute, bugle-horn, ankle-bells, conch-shell and footprints, the places of His pastimes, Tulasi, His bhaktas, the auspicious times such as Ekadasi (hari-vasara), and so on – these are all uddipana. Krsna’s qualities (guna) are of three types, related to His body, mind and speech, respectively (kayika, manasika and vacika).
Age (vayasa) is prominent among the qualities relating to His body. There are three divisions of Krsna’s age: kaumara, pauganda and kaisora:
kaumaram pancamabdantam / paugandam dasamavadhi
asodasac ca kaisoram / yauvanam syat tatah param
The kaumara period lasts until the age of five. The pauganda period lasts from this point until the age of ten, and the kaisora stage begins at the age of ten and continues until the age of sixteen. The age after that is called yauvana.
The kaisora stage also has three divisions, which are called the beginning, middle and end (adya, madhya and sesa). Among the bodily qualities, the consideration of beauty is predominant. Beauty is present when the bodily limbs are in proper proportion to each other. Clothing, decoration and the arrangement of articles, including the hair and so on, is called prasadhana. Krsna has three kinds of flute: vamsi, venu and murali. The venu is twelve fingers long and as thick as a thumb, and it has six holes. The murali is two hands in length and has four finger-holes, besides the hole in the mouthpiece. The vamsi is 17 fingers long. Of this, there is a clear space of three finger-widths at the tail end. At the head end of the flute is another space of four finger-widths, which is also clear, except for the hole for blowing, which is half a finger’s width from the end. In the middle is a space containing eight finger-holes separated from each other by a gap of half a finger’s width. The vamsi therefore has a total of nine holes.
The conch-shell that turns to the right and rests radiantly in Krsna’s hand is called Pancajanya.
Through these uddipanas, the rati of the bhaktas awakens, and when it is directed towards Krsna, the object of rati, it becomes the very embodiment of ananda. Rati is sthayibhava, and it alone transforms into rasa.
Come here tomorrow at the same time; I will tell you about rasa, and I will also explain anubhava and so on.
Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha offered dandavat at Srila Gopala Guru Gosvami’s lotus feet and took their leave. Absorbed in contemplation on the subject of rasa, they went to have darsana of Siddha-bakula. From there, they went to take darsana of Sri Jagannathadeva and then returned to their quarters.
“INTRODUCTION TO RASA-TATTVA”