There are two types of bhakti – vaidhi and rāgānugā. There is nothing in this book about vaidhi. Only by cultivating what is in this book can one understand what rāgānugā–bhakti-sādhana is. There are four kinds of rasa in rāgānugā–bhakti – dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura. In this book, only the characteristics of madhura-rasa in rāgānugā–bhakti are there.
Bilvamaṅgala has shown the process of madhura-rasa-sādhana in order to enter madhura–rasa. The first śloka is the maṅgalācaṇa (auspicious invocation), and the second śloka is the vastu-nirdeśa (description of the book). In that, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is specified as the ultimate refuge of madhura–rasa in Vraja-dhāma. In the 105th śloka, the two natural qualities of sweetness and eagerness to reside in Vraja within a sādhaka are described. In the final śloka it is stated that vraja-rasa is rare without taking shelter of Śrī Rādhā. There is no worship of any Deva other than Kṛṣṇa. This is made clear in ślokas 22, 29, 100, 102 etc. Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, character, bhajana and method of bhajana are seen in śloka 108. Whether one is a woman or a man, if one is to enter this rasa, it is natural to take birth in Vraja as a woman in spite of having the material body of man etc. which has been repeatedly pointed out. The only place where there is an example of this is where Bilvamaṅgala accepts the mood of a female when taking shelter of the gopīs in Vraja. Greed for rūpa-darśana (seeing Kṛṣna), touching the limbs of Kṛṣṇa etc. – in this rasa, all these are very intense. What to speak of this, sometimes due to lack of darśana, the tenth state also arises. (1) From time to time, there is sambhoga (union), and from time to time vipralambha (separation) arises, making this rasa delicious. When all the beautiful pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Her perfected associates with Kṛṣṇa are being relished on the path of bhāva according to the 106th śloka, then that merciful darśana is attained.
At this time, the stage of attainment is passed and the stage of perfection arises. This kind of svarūpa-siddhi culminates in the supreme mercy of Kṛṣṇa which gives rise to vastu-siddhi. (2) Then, in fact, one attains residence with the nitya-siddha gopīs in the nitya-siddha Vraja. If by tremendous good fortune all these procedures arise for a person, only then can he relish this rasa. The state of svarūpa-siddhi is prayed for in śloka 112, that is, in the final śloka. This bhajana only requires perseverance and simplicity. Emulation of the greed that the Vraja-vāsīs have for Kṛṣṇa’s service is due to Kṛṣṇa’s mercy as a result of accumulating a great amount of puṇya (ślokas 67, 65, 94, 96). When that greed is combined with exclusivity, perseverance and simplicity, it will certainly bear fruit very soon. (ślokas 12, 19, 30, 42). By some good fortune, if this rati (attraction) of the followers of the Vraja-vāsīs, by whose comparison the opulence of Vaikuntha pales into insignificance, arises in somebody, then he should never leave the company of Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta. Śrī Rūpa’s instruction is this:
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
(While residing in Vraja under the guidance of a resident of Vraja-dhāma, one should spend all their time engaging the mind and tongue in chanting the Holy Name and remembering the Lord’s divine form, qualities and pastimes. This is the essence of all instructions. – Upadeśāmṛta 8)
(1) There are ten phases of lamentation due to separation – (1) aṅga-tāpa (fever in the body), (2) kṛśatā (emaciation), (3) jāgaraṇa (wakefulness), (4) ālambana-śūnyatā (an absence of mental support), (5) adhīti (lack of interest in anything), (6) jaḍatā (paralysis), (7) vyādhi (sickness), (8) unmāda (madness), (9) mūrcchita (fainting), and (10) mṛti (death).
(2) Svarūpa-siddhi is the identification with the spiritual form given by the guru. Vastu-siddhi is complete perfection in one’s spiritual form, when the material body is removed.