taraṅga-raṅgiṇī prītiś cid-vilāsa-svarūpiṇī
āśraye bhagavat-tattve rasa-vistāriṇī satī
Pure prīti is of the very form and nature of transcendental pastimes – it is full of the blissful waves of different bhāvas, and it is the distributor of various rasas for the Absolute Truth who is its refuge.
Now the āśraya–tattva (the principle of supreme shelter) begins with the śloka, ‘taraṅga etc.’ This prīti is steady, and like Bhagavān, it is comprised of sac-cid-ānanda. Sporting in the waves of bhāva and mahā-bhāva, it distributes rasas for the Absolute Truth, such as the primary rasas like śanta and the different secondary rasas such as vīra etc. Persons with specific inquiries about this should look at Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
mādhury-aiśvarya-bhedena cāśayo dvi-vidhaḥ śrutaḥ
ādyaḥ kṛṣṇa-svarūpo hi cāntyo nārāyaṇātmakaṁ
There are two kinds of āśraya–tattva according to mādhurya and aiśvarya. First there is the form and nature of Kṛṣṇa (the mādhurya-āśraya) and last is the form and nature of Nārāyaṇa (the aiśvarya-āśraya).
There are two kinds of āśraya – one in relation to Śrī Kṛṣna and one in relation to Śrī Nārāyaṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa and Nārāyaṇa are one in consideration of their essential position (vastu-vicāra), they are different according to rasa. Even though Śrī Kṛṣṇa possesses great majesty (mahā-aiśvarya), supreme sweetness is predominant in Him. Due to the strong attraction of sweetness, aiśvarya also mysteriously exists within sweetness itself, just like the light of a lamp exists within sunlight. However, in Nārāyaṇa, there is only the influence of aiśvarya. Although that Nārāyaṇa is attractive to the jīvas, that is weak in relation to those jīvas who are devoted to relishing kṛṣṇa–rasa. Yet jīvas who are attracted to Nārāyaṇa naturally hanker for Kṛṣṇa. This is a great mystery, but it can be understood by taste. It cannot manifest through words because it is indescribable.
prauḍhānanda-camatkāra-rasaḥ kṛṣṇe bṛhat-tamaḥ
aiśvarya-jñāna-pūrṇatvān nāsau nārāyaṇe svataḥ
The rasa which naturally resides within Kṛṣṇa is the greatest, most complete, and is full of intense astonishing bliss. This is not so with Nārāyaṇa, since He is fully understood to be majestic by nature.
That rasa of those who are most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifests from complete bliss and is completely astonishing. It is the greatest of all – in other words, the four rasas of dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura are the results achieved in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the fountainhead of sweetness. However, in Nārāyaṇa, only dāsya predominated by aiśvarya is achieved, and the highest limit with Him is up to prema. In servitorship to Him there is no praṇaya (affection) filled with intimacy because aiśvarya is based upon fear. Servants consider themselves to be inferior and the aiśvarya is infinite. However, in mādhurya, there is a natural equal mentality between the served and the servant. Without that, the mood of sweetness is not possible.
śrī-kṛṣṇa caritaṁ yad yad vidvadbhir varṇitaṁ purā
labdhaṁ samādhinā tat-tan-netihāso na kalpanā
Whatever the learned have previously described concerning narrations of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are achieved through samādhi, not by history or imagination.
atho mahā-bhāga bhavān amogha-dṛk
śuci-śravāḥ satya-rato dhṛta-vrataḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.5.13)
“O most fortunate one! You are the perfect seer (a seer of the truth), you possess transcendental knowledge, you are dedicated to the truth and you are restrained. Through samādhi, remember Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the performer of wonderful pastimes which results in liberation from all bondage.”
From this authoritative statement of Śrī Bhāgavata, it is proven that the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are perceived through samādhi. Since they are achieved through samādhi, it is not possible that such transcendental narrations (adhokṣaja-carita) are historical or imaginary. The tales of Candragupta, Aśoka etc. are completely historical. This because they are subject to māyika space and time. Stories about the jackal and the dog etc. written by Viṣṇu Śarmā are imaginary, because all of them are manifest from māyika sentiments. In all such cases, these descriptions are merely the work of the senses and the mind. All of these have no place in samādhi – none of these are attainable there. However, the mundane senses and mind do not have the power to describe the narrations of Kṛṣṇa. Thus, they can be described, heard and remembered in connection with samādhi.
samādhir dvividhaḥ prokto gauṇā-sākṣād vibhedataḥ
kṛcchra-sādhyo bhaved ekaḥ sahajo’nyaḥ prakīrttitaḥ
Samādhi is said to be of two types – secondary and direct. One (secondary samādhi) is difficult to achieve. The other (direct samādhi) is said to be easy.
sva-prakāśa-svabhāvāt tu bimbā-darśānvayād api
samādhāv-ātma-sattāyāṁ vaikuṇṭhāvekṣaṇaṁ svataḥ
That (direct samādhi) is naturally self-manifest and because it is in connection with Vaikuṇṭha and because its image is reflected (in this world), it is perceptible due to the existence of the ātmā.
“Samādhi is possible as a division of jñāna through Sānkhya-yoga. How does it enter into bhakti-tattva?” The śloka beginning with ‘samādhiḥ etc.’ removes this doubt of the challenging opponent. There are two kinds of samādhi – secondary samādhi is difficult to attain as it is achieved through jñāna and is full of miseries. However, direct samādhi is achieved only with a little natural jñāna. Natural jñāna means the perception of the ātmā which does not arise in relation to the senses. That is because it is inherent to the ātmā and does not depend upon the gross material creation of māyā. Vaikuṇṭha can be seen through one’s natural jñāna, because Vaikuṇṭha is naturally self-manifest and there is a connection with Vaikuṇṭha with this world which is its reflected image created by māyā. Therefore the mantra in the Kaṭhopaniṣad says:
na tatra sūryo bhāti na candra tārakaṁ
nemā vidyuto bhānti kuto’yam agniḥ
tam eva bhāntam anubhāti sarvaṁ
tasya bhāsā sarvam idaṁ vibhāti
“The sun, the moon, the stars – none of these produce light. Where is that light from? All such luminaries shine by deriving their light from Him. All is illuminated by His radiance.” (Kaṭhopaniṣad 2.2.15)
nāma rūpaṁ guṇaḥ karma hy etal-liṅga-catuṣṭayam
vastu-nirddhāraṇe mukhya-lakṣaṇañ-cocyate budhaiḥ
The name, form qualities and activities – these four primary characteristics define an object according to the learned.
In this śloka beginning with ‘nāma rūpaṁ etc.’ the characteristics of bhakti-samādhi are described.
liṅga-catuṣṭyābhāvād brahma sākṣān na labhyate
tasmāt samādhito liṅgaiḥ kṛṣṇa-tattvaṁ vinirddiśet
The nature of the Supreme cannot be perceived in samādhi due to the absence of these four characteristics. Thus in samādhi all these characteristics will indicate the nature of Kṛṣṇa.
The scholars conversant with the philosophy of Advaita consider that Brahman is only attainable through jñāna and it is not possible to directly perceive it because as it is devoid of these four characteristics. It can only be indicated from afar though its secondary tendencies (gauṇa-vṛtti). Thus, the four characteristics of kṛṣṇa-tattva can be perceived by the ātmā through natural samādhi. This is the explanation. Herein lies the principle – there are five kinds of bhāva to be considered in relation to the āśraya-tattva.
(1) Firstly – because Brahman is devoid of transcendental attributes, and because it denies a material form, then by the function of renouncing objects through Sāṅkhya or jñāna-samādhi, Brahman is realised as being nirviśeṣa (without any attributes) and nirākara (without any form). The jīvas, in a state of absence from māyā, rest within this Brahman.
(2) Secondly – the Paramātmā, and His transcendental existence (or those things belonging to transcendental existence), is seen through jñāna’s function of perceiving the ātmā. However, in that state there is only a minute amount of happiness achieved by the ātmā.
(3) Thirdly – the Supreme, who is personified bliss, is seen through natural samādhi combined only with some regular jñāna. Because that bliss lacks the refuge of His form and intrinsic nature (svarūpa), it is incomplete. Modern-day brahmavādīs are worshipers of this Supreme. Furthermore, because they disregard the śāstra, they have taken the name of ‘worshippers of Brahman’ (brahmopāsakas). “Arguing over a name results in the object disappearing.” According to this logic, one should not argue over it.
(4) Fourthly – through natural samādhi, one perceives the nature and blissful form (svarūpa) of Śrī Nārāyaṇa. Through this, bliss for the love of His svarūpa extends to servitorship (dāsya).
(5) Fifthly – through complete natural samādhi, one perceives Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the supreme form of blissful rasa.
One should observe the table below:
Due to differences in the characteristics of sādhana, there are also differences in the characteristics of āśraya. Because of these differences (in the characteristics of āśraya) there are naturally differences in the results that are achieved.
nāropitāni liṅgāni cid-gatāni citi kvacit
cit-tattve jaḍa-liṅgānām āropaṇam asammatam
These characteristics (name, form etc.) are not imposed upon spiritual elements (those things that are constitutionally spiritual by nature – in other words, śāstra does not state that it is an imposition). Imposing mundane characteristics upon spiritual elements is not approved by those who are wise.
All spiritual characteristics found in spiritual elements, i.e. Bhagavān and the jīvas, are not imposed, but eternal. Imposing mundane characteristics upon Bhagavān is not approved. Thus the statement, upāsakānāṁ hitārthaṁ brahmaṇo rūpa-kalpane (‘in order to help the worshipper a form of Brahman is imagined’) is refuted.
kṛṣṇa ity-abhidānam tu jīvākarṣa-vidhānataḥ
jīvānanda-vidhānena rūpaṁ śyāmāmṛtaṁ priyam
Because He attracts the jīvas, He has the name ‘Kṛṣṇa.’ His loving, eternal dark-hued form bestows bliss upon the jīvas.