Prema Rasa Madira is a complete text, capable of taking one from the initial stage of detaching oneself from the world, all the way to the ultimate attainment of serving Shri Radha Krishna in the highest sentiment of sakhi bhava in the kunjas of Vrindavana and witnessing Their confidential nikunja pastimes.
The padas are unique, in that they are a crystal-clear window to the devotional sentiments enshrined in a Rasikas loving heart. The display of extraordinary poetic skills is a testament to the unmatched capability of this Rasika. Sung in ragas in a simple manner, they are capable of arousing the appropriate sentiments of humility and love in one's heart.
This Prema Rasa Madira is the greatest act of Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj's grace, because these padas are outpourings of his heart. May the joyful process of rupadhayana make all sadhaka readers' hearts suitable receptacles to receive and eternally relish the wine of devotional sentiments of this Prema Rasa Madira.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj is the fifth original Jagadguru in the history of the world. Prior to him, only four Saints have been acknowledged as Jagadguru: Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya, Jagadguru Shri Ramanujacharya, Jagadguru Nimbarkacharya and Jagadguru Shri Madhvacharya. Shri Maharaj Ji presented a unique reconciliation of their varying philosophies, while revealing his profound and unparalleled scholarship of the Vedas, Shastras, Puranas and other scriptures, during a series of discourses he delivered in pure Sanskrit before the eminent representatives of Kashi Vidvat Parishat. This esteemed body of India's 500 topmost scholars, were left spellbound and astounded by his scriptural omniscience, so much so that they unanimously honoured him with the unprecedented title of Jagadgurnttama — the Supreme among all Jagadgurus on 14 January 1957, when he was just thirty-four years of age. So charmed were they by his personality, suffused with the nectar of devotion and divine love, that they also declared him to be Bhakti-yoga-rasavatara (the Descension of Divine Love and Bliss).
Rasika readers and seekers of the bliss of divine love!
The subject of this text becomes clear from its title. Nevertheless, courtesy demands that a few words be written as a foreword.
The undisputed established spiritual principle of the Vedas, the six Darshanas, the Puranas and so on, is that the ultimate aim of every living being, is the attainment of bliss alone, which to fulfil one, must be both infinite and eternal. Such infinite and eternal bliss is Shyamasundara alone, the Supreme Lord and Crest Jewel of Rasikas, as is established by the statements, raso vai sah (He alone is Bliss.) [Taittiriya Upanishad, 2-7] and anando brahmeti vyajanat (He, Bhrigu knew Brahm to be Bliss.) [Taittiriya Upanishad, 3-6]
But, that same Shyamasundara, who is of the nature of bliss and the very source of bliss, is enslaved utterly by His own most confidential power - an entity known as prema or divine love. Therefore, it is divine love which is the ultimate entity. This book Prema Rasa Madird - The Intoxicating Bliss of Divine Love - has been written with that divine love as its goal. How far I have succeeded in this endeavour is up to the readers to decide.
The first thing for any reader of the Prema Rasa Madira to understand is who would benefit most from this text. There are two types of sadhakas - those practicing the path of karma yoga where service with one's body (tanuja) and wealth (vittaja) has predominance, even though the mind (manasi seva) is involved, to the degree that this service is done with the spirit of love for God and Guru. But, when a devotee reaches a mature stage in his spiritual life and the attraction for Shri Radha Krishna - Their names, forms, qualities and so on, sprout in his heart, inspired by the love or raga of his Guru for these, he becomes a candidate for raganuga bhakti, where the service shifts largely to the mental plane (manasi seva).
It is especially for this category of devotees that Shri Maharaj Ji has prescribed the process of rupadhyana (devotional meditation) and the verses of the Prema Rasa Madira have been created to nourish that rupadhyana, by presenting the devotional sentiments of the Rasikas of Braja. The physical services to Shri Radha Krishna are three fold - bhoga, raga and shringara. Bhoga is the offering of various lovingly prepared foodstuffs to one's worshipable Deity. Shringara is the decoration, ornamentation and dressing of the Deities. These two are done on the physical plane (prakata seva), to assist a sadhaka in manasi seva (mental service). Raga or devotional chants of the names, qualities, pastimes sung for one's Deities with great love, for their pleasure is the most important of these services and also provides the most help in one's manasi seva. These sentiments or bhavas when incorporated into one's meditations becomes a process of developing a divine body or bhava deha, appropriate to truly relish and acquire the eligibility to enter into Shri Radha Krishna's pastimes.
The Prema Rasa Madird is a complete text, capable of taking one from the initial stage of detaching oneself from the world, all the way up to the ultimate attainment of serving Shri Radha Krishna in the highest sentiment of sakhi bhava in the kunjas of Vrindavana and witnessing Their confidential nikunja pastimes.
There are various stages that a devotee will pass through, to that final attainment and the various madhuris have been manifested by Shri Maharaj Ji, to nurture devotees at every stage.
Stages on the Path of Raganuga Bhakti
1.The stage of understanding and fixing one's goal.
Shravana or listening to spiritual principles via sadhu sanga or the Guru's divine association helps one to develop detachment from the world and to fix one's goal. The first stage is to have implicit faith or Shraddha in your Guru. Sadguru Madhuri creates faith in the Spiritual Master and implicit faith in siddhanta, the spiritual principles that he reveals. The Siddhanta Madhuri reveals the actual nature of the world, as giving a false promise of pleasure. It establishes that one's goal of attainment of bliss can only be achieved through a relationship (sambandha) with Krishna. This eternal relationship of the soul with Shri Krishna can be revived only by the path of bhakti or devotion (abhidheya). This practice of bhakti, purifies the heart to receive divine love or prema, which is the ultimate goal (prayojana). Once these three principles are firmly established in the sadhaka's mind he moves on to the next stage.
2.The stage of preparation.
Now one needs to prepare oneself for the path of devotion. The foundation of devotion rests upon certain qualities like humility, forbearance, gentleness of heart, absence of hypocrisy, submissiveness to God, Guru and the scriptures and so on. These qualities are emphasised in Dainya Madhuri as a reminder to the sadhaka that in his practice of selfless service, to please his Guru and God, these virtues are meant to be developed.
3.The stage of attraction towards Shri Krishna (Shyama rasa).
The third stage is one of acceptance of one's relationship with Shri Krishna alone. At this point a devotee's sentiments would be nourished by padas of Shri Krishna Madhuri, Ail Krishna Bala-Lila Madhuri, Hori Madhuri, Murali Madhuri and so on, which will allow him to experience rasa when he does rupadhyana on the mischievous, flirtatious form of Shyamasundara. From this point on, kirtana, the devotional chanting and smarana, the loving remembrance) become an integral part of one's life.
4.The stage of loving Shri Krishna selflessly.
Now the devotee evolves into desiring to love Shyamasundara It with the selfless sentiment of the brajavasis' and in particular, the Brajagopis. At this stage, the devotee emulates the exclusive selfless and all-encompassing love of the Brajagopis, visualising himself as loved of the Supreme Lord. At this point in his devotional progress, the padas of Prema Madhuri and the special taste of the Gopis' love in Milana and Viraha Madhuri will prove most useful. At this stage a special love for Braja dhama will arise in one's heart, especially those places related to Shyamasundara pastimes like Nandagamva, Gokula and Govardhana.
5.The stage of desiring to give the topmost pleasure to Shyamasundara.
As selflessness grows in one's heart, one will wish to know where Shyamasundara's ultimate pleasure lies. It is then, that the padas of Lila Madhuri and Mana Madhuri, where Shyamasundara goes to any extent to serve Shri Radha, and the agony He experiences in separation from Her, establishes in one's heart the supreme place of Shri Radha. He now realises that devotion to Shyamasundara, excluding Shri Radha, will bear very little fruit if one wishes to give Him the ultimate happiness.
prema bhaktau yadi shraddha matprasadam yadichchhasi,
tada narada bhavena radhaya radhako bhava [Bhavishya Purana]
Shri Krishna says, "O Narada! If you have faith in the path of devotion and wish to attain divine love and My grace then lovingly devote yourself to the process of loving Shri Radha!"
satyarh satyam.... [Narada Purana]
Shri Krishna declares, "I repeatedly declare this absolute truth again and again. Without attaining Shri Radha's grace, My mercy is impossible to attain."
Brahma Sutras (79)
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