I offer obeisance to the most magnanimous giver of love of Krsna, Krsna Himself, bearing the name Krsna
Caitanya, who possesses a from of golden hue! I submit myself to that merciful Person, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who
performed wonderful deeds. With the nectarean treasure of His own love, He intoxicated the world (delirious with
ignorance) by freeing it from the malady of nescience.
Lord Sri Caitanya said to Srila Rupa Gosvami:
Rupa, listen to the characteristics of rasa (mature mellow) of bhakti. I shall speak in a condensed form, for rasa
is not susceptible to elaborate description, since it can only be understood through insight and deep realization.
The ocean of the mellow of bhakti is profound and without boundary shores. I shall speak one particle about
bhakti to make you taste it.
In this world the number of jives (souls) is infinite. They form the contents of this world and they wander, birth after
birth, through 8,400,000 different kinds of physical bodies (human, animal, tree, and so forth). The specific
nature of the jiva is infinitesimal in size like one hundredth part of the tip of a hair.
The jives are divided into two distinct groups, namely, (1) stationary and (2) moving. The moving jives are
divided into those who live on land, in water, and in the air. Mankind is a very small part of the total number of
jives that live on land. Among mankind are to be found the mlecchas, pulindas boudhas, aborigines, and so on.
Among those who practise the religion of the Veda, one half profess to follow the Veda but in fact only follow with
their lips. They commit many sins forbidden by the Veda and do not really care for religion. Among those who
really act in accordance with religion, most are addicted to fruitive activities. They work (karma) to produce fruits
that they can enjoy. It is hardly possible to find one jnani (single seeker of knowledge) among one hundred
thousand people working for good karma. Furthermore, there is hardly even one person who is truly mukta
(liberated) amongst one hundred thousand people who are seeking liberation. And It is hardly possible to find a
single bhakta (devotee) of Krsna among one hundred thousand liberated persons.
A bhakta of Krsna is free from all selfish hankerings and is, therefore, of a really peaceful and equipoised
disposition (santa). But those who desire liberation, or desire mystic powers through yoga, or desire to work to
create enjoyment are all discontent (asanta).
It is rare that any jiva, in the course of his wanderings in this mundane world, will get a chance to come to bhakti.
Indeed, it is rare for someone to obtain the seed of the creeper of bhakti, which is only found by the mercy of
Guru and Krsna.
Bhakti grows, like a creeper grows, from a tiny seed. By becoming a gardener, the jiva sows the seed and
nourishes it with water in the from of hearing and chanting the holy name of Krsna. The creeper of bhakti
develops shoots and grows to pierce through this mundane sphere. The growing creeper goes through the
stream of Viraja (the Unmanifest state outside this universe), then it goes through the illuminated plane of
Brahman (white light of spiritual bliss), until the creeper finally attains for herself a home in the soil of the infinite
sphere called paravyoma. The creeper continues to grow in the paravyoma atmosphere and reaches the limits
of the higher sphere of Goloka Vrndavana where she slims and lings to the purpose-tree oat the feet of Krsna.
Prema, the fruit of the creeper of bhakti, grows on the creeper only when she attains the lotus feet of Krsna.
Throughout this time, the gardener continues to water the creeper with hearing and chanting the holy name of
The gardener has a second task in caring for the creeper besides watering it. As the creeper begins to grow,
hostile animals make their appearance and tear the leaves, or the tender leaves begin to dry up because of
excessive heat. In these circumstances, an offense against a Vaisnava (devotee) corresponds to the vicious
animals that damage the creepers in these different ways. In other words, it is the negligence of the gardener
who has failed to erect fences, or to devise others methods to protect the creeper, or to give special care so that
there many be no possibility of the creeper being trampled by a mad elephant, an offense to a Vaisnava. An
offense against a Vaisnava is identical to an offense against the holy name-it is one of the ten categories of
offenses against the holy name.
There is another possible disturbance as the creeper of bhakti begins to grow. If the secondary branches grow
luxuriantly then such growth also does mischief. The secondary braches are the desire for enjoyment, longing for
liberation, addiction to forbidden are the desire for enjoyment, longing for liberation, addiction to forbidden
conduct, over attention to small points of conscience, cruelty or slaughter of living things, desire for wealth, and
desire for worldly honour and fame. If special care is not practices, these secondary branches are apt to grow
vigorously to the detriment of the principal stem of the creeper, with the result that it is stunted and cannot grow.
Therefore, it is the duty of the gardener to prune these secondary branches from the moment of their
appearance, while one is busy with the primary task of hearing and chanting. If this is done, the principal stem
continues to grow and attains Vrndavana, the land of Krsna.
The fruit of Prema then ripens and drops on the ground. The gardener now tastes it mellow. By the help of the
creeper, the gardener is also able to reach the desire tree. Te gardener can now serve in Vrndavana at the foot
of the desire tree and savor the taste of the luscious juice of the fruit of love. This prema is the supreme
destination, the final fruit of all activity of the soul. The fourfold objects of human endeavor, namely, dharma
(virtue), artha (worldly possession), kama (objects of worldly desire), and moksa (liberation) are as insignificant
as a straw lying by the wayside, in comparison with Krsna-prema.
When a person completely withdraws his mind from all external efforts as a result of practicing pious activities,
which are recommended in the scriptures, he attains the oneness of Brahman realization. The equable state of
oneness in the bliss of Brahman realization and the realization of coveted powers and excellences (siddhis) can
dazzle the imagination of a man by their glaring features. But thee dazzling realizations are only dazzling until the
man has savored the smallest portion of the fragrance of the medicine of love. Pure love can subdue even the
Lord Himself, and He is the subduer of Madhu, the great demon who is the core of the pattern of consciousness
(Yantra), which we perceive as the mental state of intoxication. A person must be free from mundane
intoxications which lead him to try to enjoy as a master of siddhis (siddhi-yoga), or the bliss of oneness with the
Unmanifest Brahman (liberation), before love can appear on the pathways of the heart.
"Bhakti is service unto the Lord of the senses by means of one's senses. It is free from all physical and mental
elements. It is absolutely free from all mundane dirt because it is directed entirely to God."
Lord Sri Caitanya continued: As soon as information of My excellences enter the listener's ear, his mind exhibits
a constant inseparability from Me. This occurrence is comparable to pure Ganges water entering the ocean.
This is the only sure characteristic coif devotion, which is free from all mundane tendencies: the devoted soul is
inseparable from Me.
The devotees never accept the gifts of residence in Vaikuntha (the unlimited realm), or the opulence and honor
of a form resembling My majestic self, or proximity to My presence, or complete merging in Me. I offer them all
these attainments, but they do not accept them. They have no desire to have these attainments because nothing
is covetable for them except My transcendental service.
This devotion is pure and perfect. By means of such devotion the individual soul attains unalloyed love for Me,
and thereby transcends the limiting potency that cover the jiva (soul) with layers of mundane desires and
If the mind harbors the least desire either for mundane enjoyment, or for liberation from the desire for enjoyment,
love of Godhead is not aroused, even by the most diligent pursuit of service which is performed according to the
practices enjoined in the scriptures.
So long as the ugly ghost of desire for mundane enjoyment or mundane emancipation continues to haunt the
chamber of the heart, how can the bliss of devotion arise therein?
Bhakti is fit to be cultured. Being duly cultured it gives rise to rati (the natural tendency of the soul towards Krsna,
or the basic principal of love). Condensed rati is prema. By gradual development, prema becomes sneha,
mana, pranayam, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava. A good analogy is the refining of raw sugarcane juice: first
there is juice, then molasses, raw sugar, residual sugar, refined sugar, white sugar, and confectioners' sugar.
These are varieties of the basic principle in the operations of the liquid mellow (rasa) of the service of Krsna. If
the basic principle is conjoined with higher principles known as vaibhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari,
then the operations of the liquid mellow of the service of Krsna exhibits the most exquisite nectarean taste, just
as the mixture of curd with sugar, ghee, pepper, and camphor produces a most tasty preparation.
There are five varieties of rasa corresponding to the different types of devotees. The five varieties of rasa are
santa (the feeling of peacefulness), dasya (the feeling that I am a servitor of Krsna), sakhya (the feeling that I am
a friend of Krsna), vatsalya (the feeling that Krsna is a child and I am Krsna's parental guardian), and madhura
(the mood that Krsna is my beloved). There are also seven secondary types of rasa known as hasya (humorous
mood), adbhuta (astonishment), vira (chivalrous mood), Karuna (compassionate mood), raudra (angry mood),
bhayanaka (mood of awe and dread) and vibhasta (ghastliness). The five principal kinds of rasa are permanent
and constantly permeate the mind of the devotee, whereas the seven secondary moods are not constantly
present within the mind of the devotee.
Santa-rasa is exemplified by the conduct of the nine yogis called the Yogendras, and also the yogi Sanaka and
his young brothers. Dasya-rasa, the mood of a servitor of Krsna, is seen everywhere in the numberless devotees
of Krsna. Among the sakhya-rasa group are the young cowherd boys who are associates of Krsna, such as
Sridama, as well as Krsna's cousins Bhima and Arjuna. The devotees in the mood of vatsalya-rasa include the
parents and the older relatives of Krsna. In madhura-rasa the principal bhaktas (devotees) are the milkmaids in
Vraja and also the royal consorts and Laksmis, whose great number baffles all calculation.
Krsna-rati is twofold, namely, (1) adulterated with the perception of His majesty and (2) unalloyed. In the two royal
cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, and in the Vaikuntha worlds, the mood of divine majesty predominates. In
Gokula-rati, love for Krsna is in a mood devoid of the consciousness of His divine majesty. Love is exhibited
with shyness if the sense of majesty is prominent. The distinctive characteristic of unalloyed Gokula-rati is that
the Goddess of devotion, directing service in Gokula, does not pay any attention to the majesty of Godhead,
even if majesty is manifested to Her. In santa-rasa and dasya-rasa, the realization of divine majesty on rare
occasions serves as a helpful excitant. In sakhya-rasa and madhura-rasa it always acts as a hindrance. (Some
examples are given here.) Krsna acted in a formal role when he met His parents Vasudeva and Devaki, and He
bowed down and touched their feet. The realization of His divine majesty filled the minds of His parents with
astonishment, adbhuta (one of the secondary rasas). Arjuna was terrified on beholding the cosmic form of
Krsna, and he begged forgiveness for his arrogance in as His close friend. Rukmini was overwhelmed with fear
when Krsna told her jokingly that He would leave her.
But the source of unalloyed love knows nothing of divine majesty. If she meets with any exhibition of majesty, She
simply ignores all relationship on Her part with such entity.
In santa-rasa there is exclusive attachment to Krsna due to the realizations of one's spiritual nature. Krsna says,
"Equanimity (sama) results from the inclination of constant attachment to Me." The specific effect of santa-rasa is
noticeable in that the santa-devotee discards every other longing except the longing for Krsna. Hence, no one
can have real equanimity of disposition except the devotee of Krsna. The devotee of Krsna regards paradise
and liberation as hell. The two characteristics of the santa-devotee are constant attachment to Krsna and
renunciation of all other longings. These two characteristics permeate al the devotees of Krsna just as sound
permeates and penetrates all mundane elements.
The santa-devotee is without any personal tie of love with Krsna. In the heart of the peaceful santa-devotee, the
realization of Krsna as the Supremely Great Being (Parabrahma) and the Supreme Soul (Paramatma) is strong.
In santa-rasa there is only the realization of the spiritual nature of one's relationship with Krsna; whereas in
dasya-rasa there is the greater realization of the nature of Krsna s the master possessing full divine majesty. In
the dasya mood there is exuberance of the realization of God as the possessor of controlling power and great
dignity. The servitor by his humble service gives constant pleasure to Krsna.
In dasya there are the characteristics of santa and also the specific activity of servitude. Therefore, dasya
possesses these twofold qualities. In sakhya (friendship) there are the qualities of both santa and dasya. But in
dasya the servitude is full of the sense of inferiority and high respect or Krsna, and in sakhya, the relationship is
characterized by full confidence. The close friends of Krsna climb on His shoulders amd make Him climb on
theirs they engage in wresting with him, and they serve him and make him serve them. Sakhya is marked by the
predominance of confidential relations devoid of the sense of respect and of one's inferiority to Him. Hence
sakhya-rasa possesses these threefold qualities. It has a great measure of personal sentiment, a sense of
regarding Krsna as one's own. This last trait makes Godhead submit to sakhya-rasa. For example, Krsna
agreed to drive the chariot of His cousin Arjuna when Arjuna was fighting on the battlefield at Kuruksetra.
In vatsalya-rasa (the parental mood of devotion) there are the qualities of santa and the service of dasya. There
are also qualities of sakhya consisting of the absence of restraint due to awe and respect, as well as an
absence of fear of punishment and scolding. Additionally, there are the activities bearing the designation of
"tending" (palana). Devotees in vatsalya-rasa see themselves as the guardian of Krsna, Who is regarded as
their ward. By these fourfold characteristics, vatsalya-rasa is as delicious as nectar. Krsna, Himself, is
immersed in that nectarean bliss in the company of His devotee. Jnanis (meditators) such as Suka, Sanaka,
and Sanatana who are aware of the nature of Krsna, as divinity possessed of controlling power, declare that
Krsna also possesses the quality of subservience to His devotee.
In madhura-rasa there is constant attachment to Krsna, extreme servitude, the familiarity of a close friend, the
increased sentiment for Krsna that one feels when tendig one's child, the and finally, serving Krsna by means of
one's own body as a consort. Hence, madhura-rasa exhibits five distinct qualities. An analogy with five mundane
elements (space, air, fire water, earth) is given. The quality of each element, beginning with space (akasa), is
also found in the next element in the series and is added to its own distinctive quality. The last of the elements,
namely earth, possesses the distinctive qualities of the preceding for elements, in addition to its own specific
qualities. In the same manner, all the bhavas combine in madhura. For this reason, madhura-rasa has the
greatest taste, which makes it to exquisitely delicious.
The Lord said to Sri Rupa Gosvami that he had given him a mere outline of bhakti-rasa. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu advised Sri Rupa Gosvami to ponder over this and to expand upon it in his writings. By the practice
of constant meditation Krsna manifests Himself in the heart. By the grace of Krsna, even an ignorant person is
able to realize the nature of the ocean of rasa.
prema dhana vina vyartha daridra-jivanadasa kari vetana more deha prema dhana
"Life without love is useless and poor they say Appoint me in Thy service, O Lord with love as my pay."
Our prayer should be of this nature. We naturally begin to feel dislike for everything but Krsna as soon as we feel
necessity for Krsna-prema. In absence of this, other tendencies and considerations take firm hold of our mind,
exhorting us to great workers, forgetful of the main object of the pancaratra."
Brahma Sutras (79)
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