Jaiva Dharma - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraJaiva Dharma - Chapter Twenty Eight
Jaiva Dharma - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraJaiva Dharma - Chapter Thirty

Further Consideration of Rasa-tattva
Part Three: The Rasas of Śānta, Dāsya and Sakhya

by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Śrī Sarvabhāvana Prabhu)

Vrajanātha and Vijaya-kumāra decided to stay over in Jagannātha Purī for the four months of the rainy season when the itinerant renunciants carry out the vow of cāturmāsya during the rainy season. Eager to hear the intricate details of rasatattva from Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī’s divine lips, they had determined to remain longer in Purī and then embark upon the path of cultivating rasa after taking such good instruction. When Vrajanātha’s grandmother heard about the spiritual benefits of staying in Śrī Jagannātha-kṣetra during the time of the cāturmāsyavrata, she also agreed to Vrajanātha’s proposal to stay. Every morning and evening, they visited the major temple to have darśana of Lord Jagannātha. They bathed in the nearby holy ponds like the Narendra Sarovara Lake and saw the important sacred places with great enthusiasm. They kept themselves informed about Lord Jagannātha’s festivals and new outfit days and observed the celebrations with devotion, keeping Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī regularly posted on their activities and plans.

Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī was extremely pleased with them, saying, “Vrajanātha, Vijaya-kumāra, I have developed a deep vātsalya affection for you, so much so that I would feel your absence greatly, if you were to leave. I am extremely happy that you are here. To find a bona fide spiritual teacher may be possible, but sincere disciples are very rarely found.”

Humbled by Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī’s words and presence, Vrajanātha asked, “Gurudeva, kindly explain to us the different rasas and their relation to the different bhāvas, such as vibhāva, which is basic cause of the appearance of prema.”

Gosvāmī, “Your enquiry is of a very elevated order. Please listen carefully, for I speak only by the inspiration of Śrī Caitanya. The beginning rasa is śānta-rasa and the related sthāyibhāva is known as śānta-rati. The ānanda experienced in brahmānanda, impersonal Brahman realization, by the nirviśeṣavādis, impersonalists, or the ātmānanda, bliss of the self, experienced by the yogis steeped in meditation upon the inner self is weak in comparison to the exultation felt in realization of Īśa, the Supreme Lord. The svarūpa of Īśvara, the Supreme Controller, is the source and cause of that ānanda.

“The beatific transcendental form of the four-handed Śrī Nārāyaṇa is the supportive ālambana of the śānta-rasa sentiment. Śrī Nārāyaṇa is embellished with absolute qualities such as omnipotence and opulence. Hence, these qualities are prominent in the viṣaya and anubhāvas of this sthāyibhāva. Peaceful, equipoised yogīs take shelter of śāntarati. Self-realized, liberated transcendentalists who are ātmārāma and the elevated renunciants who possess unflinching faith are in śāntarasa. Foremost amongst the ātmārāmas are the four Kumāras—Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanat-kumāra and Sanandana—who look like young boys and dress in sannyāsī clothes. Initially realized in the nirviśeṣabrahma, they later became attached to the exquisite beauty of Śrī Nārāyaṇa and began to worship His personal form, the embodiment of transcendence. Renunciants whose spiritual path has been cleared of impediments and who have cut off all material attachments by the practice of yukta-vairāgya, but who are still not able to forsake completely the desire for mukti, enter into śānta-rasa.

“The following are some of the uddīpana in śāntarasa: studying the principal Upaniṣads; living in solitary places; relishing the appearance of one’s spirituality; discussing tattva, philosophical truths; establishing the preponderance of the vidyāśakti, which bestows knowledge and learning; appreciating the viśvarūpa, the Universal Form of the Lord; associating with devotees situated in jñāna-miśra-bhakti; and debating upon the Upaniṣads with persons of equal intellect and tendency.

“Further uddīpana in śāntarasa are the fragrance of the tulasī buds offered at the feet of the Lord; the sound of a conch-shell; sacred mountains; holy forests; siddhakṣetra, spiritually potent places; the River Gaṅgā; the renunciation of material attachments; and the conviction that Kāla is the destroyer of everything. Such are the vibhāvas for tasting śāntarasa.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the anubhāvas in śānta-rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Vision fixed upon the tip of the nose; activities like that of an avadhūta; eyes to the ground while walking; fondness for showing the jñānamudrā; lack of antipathy against those who are inimical to the Supreme Lord; paucity of devotion even for devotees favoured by the Lord; the desire to sever all material ties and to become a jīvanmukta; impartiality; selflessness; and material apathy. The extraordinary influences of this rati are freedom from ahaṅkāra, false ego, and mamatā, possessiveness, and the taking of vows of silence. Such are the anubhāvas in śānta-rasa. The vikāras as result of the anubhāvas are yawning and stretching of the body, giving instructions on devotion, offering obeisances to Śrī Hari, and glorifying Him with prayers.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the sattvika-vikāra, ecstatic transformations, in śānta-rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Nearly all the sattvikavikāra—such as romāñca, horripilation; stambha, being stunned; and sveda, perspiration—frequently occur in śānta-rasa. The exception is pralaya, devastation resulting in falling to the ground, which is absent in śānta-rasa. Furthermore, sattvikavikāra with dīptalakṣaṇa, vigorously glowing symptoms, do not appear in śāntarasa.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the sañcāribhāvas in this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “The most commonly seen sañcāri-bhāvas in all categories of śānta-rasa are nirveda, remorse; dhṛti, patience; harṣa, smiling; mati, understanding; smṛti, reminiscence; viśada, dejection; utsukau, eagerness; āvega, intense emotion; and vitarka, argumentativeness.”

Vrajanātha, “How many kinds of śānta-rati are there?”

Gosvāmī, “Śānta-rati is the sthāyi-bhāva in śānta-rasa and is of two varieties: samā, equipoised; and sāndrā, concentrated.

“In asamprajñāta-samādhi, when there is no longer any connection with mundane pleasure and the yogī perceives the sphūrti, manifestation, of Supreme Lord within his heart, the body registers symptoms such as haṛsa, smiling; kāma, desire; and romāñca, horripilation. This is how samā-śānta-rati is manifested.

“In nirvikalpa-samādhi, one is completely free from all avidyā, nescience and dualism. When the devotee sees the Supreme Lord face to face in this state of samādhi, he experiences ineffable bliss known as sāndrānānda, the hallmark of sāndra-śānta-rati.

Śānta-rasa may also be divided into pārokṣya, indirect; and sākṣātkāra, direct. Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura had attained the nirviśeṣa-brahma through jñāna, but they rejected the resultant brahmānanda for the bhakti-rasānanda, immortal nectar of bhakti. The famous and most erudite Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, an associate of Śrī Caitanya, is another example.”

Vrajanātha, “Why is śānta-rasa not mentioned in alaṅkāra, material rhetoric?”

Gosvāmī, “In mundane relationships—the prime subject of mundane authors—the state of śānta neutralizes all diversity and variegatedness, hence it is overlooked. However, upon the plane of transcendence, aprākṛtarasa progressively increases with the advent of śānta-rasa. Śrī Bhagavān has declared that the devotee’s consciousness is called samā, equipoised, if it is firmly fixed upon Him. The fact is that one’s consciousness cannot be fixed upon the Lord without śānta-rati; therefore, śāntarasa must be cultivated and accepted within the framework of cit-tattva, spiritual culture.”

Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, the subject of śānta-rasa is now clear. Kindly explain the intricacies of dāsyarasa.”

Gosvāmī, “Spiritual teachers also designate dāsya-rasa as prīta-bhakti-rasa, pleasurable devotional mellow. The Lord’s servitors receiving His favour are of two kinds: dāsya, those who consider themselves His subordinate servitors; and lālya, those who consider themselves personally maintained and watched over by Him. Thus, prīta-bhakti-rasa is divided into the two: sambhrama-prīta-dāsya, respectful service; and gaurava-prīta-dāsya, the attitude of maintained dependents.”

Vrajanātha, “Kindly elucidate sambhrama-prīta-rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Sambhrama-prīti, reverential affection, towards Vrajendranandana Kṛṣṇa appears in those devotees whose self conception is, ‘I am the servant of Kṛṣṇa.’ As this prīti progressively deepens, it manifests sambhrama-prīta-rasa, the mellow of reverential service. Kṛṣṇa and His servants are the ālambana of this rasa.”

Vrajanātha, “What is the svarūpa of Kṛṣṇa related to sambhrama-prīta-rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Gokula Kṛṣṇa in His original two-handed form is the object of sambhrama-prīta-rasa. However, additionally, as the object of this rasa, Kṛṣṇa may manifest His opulent two-handed form in some spiritual regions and in other regions His opulent four-handed form. As the two-handed Kṛṣṇa playing the flute in Gokula, He wears a peacock feather in His crown and is dressed as a cowherd boy. However, in other spiritual regions, the two-handed Kṛṣṇa is dressed opulently with ornaments and jewels.

“In this regard, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Western Division 2.3.5:

brahmāṇḍa koṭi dhāmaika-roma-kūpaḥ kṛpāmbudhiḥ
avicintya-mahāśaktiḥ sarva-siddhi-niṣevitaḥ
avatārāvalī bījaṁ sadātmārāma-hṛd-guṇaḥ
īśvaraḥ paramārādhyaḥ sarva-jñaḥ sudṛḍha-vrataḥ
samṛddhimān kṣamā-śīlaḥ śaraṇāgata-pālakāḥ
dakṣiṇaḥ satya-vacano dakṣaḥ sarva-śubhaṅkaraḥ
pratāpī dhārmikaḥ śāstra-cakṣur bhakta-suhṛttamaḥ
vadānyas tejasā yuktaḥ kṛta-jñaḥ kīrtti-saṁśrayaḥ
varīyān balavān prema-vaśya ity ādibhir guṇaiḥ
yutaś catur vidheṣv eṣa dāseṣv ālambano hariḥ

“‘Śrī Hari Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead embellished with innumerable transcendental qualities, is the embodied ālambana for the bhaktirasa tasted by the four kinds of dāsya-bhaktas, respectful servitors. Śrī Hari Kṛṣṇa is koṭi-brahmāṇḍa-vigraha, the transcendental body wherein millions of universes are lodged in every pore. He is kṛpāmbudhi, an ocean of compassion, whose acintya-mahā-śakti, inconceivable awesome potency, is unfathomable by human intellect. He is sarvasiddhi-niṣevita, the repertory of all mystic perfections and avatārāvalī-bīja, the primeval cause of all the varieties of incarnation such as the guṇa-avatāras, līlā-avatāras, and śaktyāveśa-avatāras. He is ātmārāma-gaṇākarṣī, as He charms the ātmārāmas, self-satisfied yogīs, including the most illustrious Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He is the īśvara, who controls and regulates everything and is thus paramārādhya, the Supreme Object of worship for the jīvas and Devas alike. He is sarvajña, omniscient; sudṛdhavrata, infallible in His vow; samṛddhimān, absolutely opulent; kṣamāśīla, forgiving; and śaraṇāgatapālaka, the protector of the devotees who have taken His shelter. He is dakṣiṇa, the Supreme Icon of liberality and munificence; and satya-vacana, as His words are always truth and never prove false. He is dakṣa, unlimitedly expert; and sarvaśubhaṅkara, as He always acts as everyone’s well-wisher and benefactor. He is pratāpī, majestic and valorous; and dhārmika, the symbol of religiosity. He is always śāstracakṣu, seeing through the eye of the scriptures; bhakta-suhṛt, the best friend of His devotees; vadānya, magnanimous; tejasvī, radiant, influential, valorous and most powerful; kṛtajña, grateful; kīrtimān, famous; varīyān, the performer of wonderful deeds, superior to everyone; balavān, the most powerful; and prema-vaśya, subjugated by the love of His devotees.’”

Vrajanātha, “What are the four kinds of dāsa?”

Gosvāmī, “They are the adhikṛtadāsa, qualified servants; āśritadāsa, sheltered servants; pāriṣada-dāsa, constant trustworthy companions; and anugata-dāsa, obedient followers. Adhikṛta-dāsa indicates that the servitor is qualified for a particular service to the Lord by always considering himself the property of his master; this servitor always indulges his master and maintains a meek and humble disposition before his Lord. An āśrita-dāsa has the mood of having taken complete shelter of his Lord and is always ready to fully execute his Master’s orders. The pāriṣada-dāsa is a constant companion and associate, trustworthy and loyal. The submissive, affectionate anugata-dāsa always considers his Lord as Prabhu and is thus fully compliant to the desires of his Master.”

Vrajanātha, “Who are examples of the adhikṛta-dāsa?”

Gosvāmī, “Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra, the Devas and Devīs, are adhikṛta dāsas and dāsīs. Having earned the qualification for positions of authority in the administration of the material cosmos, they serve the Supreme Lord in that capacity.”

Vrajanātha, “Who are examples of āśrita-dāsa?”

Gosvāmī, “The āśrita dāsa are of three kinds: śaraṇāgata, surrendered; jñānī, enlightened; and sevāniṣṭha, fixed in service. Kāliya-nāga and the kings who were imprisoned by Jarāsandha are examples of śaraṇāgata dāsa. The ṛṣis headed by Śaunaka discarded their aspiration for mukti and took devotional shelter of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Hari; thus, they are jñānaniṣṭhadāsa, enlightened servitors. Attached and dedicated from the very beginning to bhagavad-bhajana, Candradhvaja, Harihara, Bahulāśva, Ikṣvāku, and Puṇḍarīka are sevā-niṣṭha dāsa, servitors absorbed in service.

Vrajanātha, “Who are examples of pāriṣada-dāsa?”

Gosvāmī, “Uddhava, Dāruka, Sātyaki, Śrutadeva, Śatrujit, Nanda, Upananda, and Bhadrā, etc., are pāriṣada dāsa. Although they often offer advice and counsel, they also render other appropriate services according to time and circumstance. Bhīṣma, Parīkṣit Mahārāja, and Vidura are also pāriṣada dāsa. Uddhava is the best amongst all the beloved pāriṣadadāsa of Kṛṣṇa.”

Vrajanātha, “Who are the examples of anugata-dāsa?”

Gosvāmī, “Those servants whose hearts are always immersed in affectionate service to Kṛṣṇa are anugata-dāsa. They are of two categories: those who reside in Vraja-dhāma and those reside in Dvārakā-purī. In Vraja-dhāma, Raktaka is their leader and there are Patraka, Patrī, Madhukaṇöha, Madhuvrata, Rasāla, Suvilāsa, Premakanda, Marandaka, Ānanda, Candrahāsa, Pāyoda, Bakula, Rasada, and Śārada. In Dvārakā-purī, there are Sucandra, Maṇḍana, Stamba, and Sutamba.

“Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained that there are three types of pāriṣada dāsa: dhūrya, topmost direct servant; dhīra, steadfast servant sheltered by Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds such as Satyabhāmā; and vīra, sheltered servant thus proudly unconcerned about others.

Āśrita dāsa are also of three types: nitya-siddha, eternally liberated; siddha, having attained perfection; and sādhaka, a practitioner aspiring for perfection.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the uddīpana in dāsyarasa?”

Gosvāmī, “The sweet sound of the flute; the sound of the śṛṅgī, horn; Kṛṣṇa’s smiling glance; hearing of Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful qualities; the lotus flower; the impressions of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet; fresh dark blue rain-clouds; and Kṛṣṇa’s enchanting bodily fragrance are dāsyarasa uddīpana.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the anubhāvas in this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “To apply oneself fully to one’s designated duties; to carry out Kṛṣṇa’s orders; the abandonment of anger and envy to serve the Lord; the fostering of warm camaraderie with Kṛṣṇa’s servitors; to be faithful, steady and dedicated in the service of Kṛṣṇa are the specific anubhāvas of dāsyarasa. The udbhāsvaras, external symptoms of ecstasy, in this rasa and common to the other rasas include dancing, feelings of respect and affection for Kṛṣṇa’s servitors, and indifference to everything outside the sphere of Kṛṣṇa’s service.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the sattvika-vikāras present in the different kinds of pritārasa?”

Gosvāmī, “All the sattvika-bhāvas beginning with stambha are present in this rasa.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the vyabhicārībhāvas of this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Harṣa, smiling; garva, pride; dhṛti, patience; nirveda, remorse; viśada, dejection; dainya, humility; cintā, anxiety; smṛti, remembering; śaṅkā, doubt; mati, understanding; autsukya, eagerness; cāpalya, restlessness; vitarka, argumentation; āvega, trepidation; hrī, shame; vrīḍa, bashfulness; jāḍya, inertia; moha, delusion; unmāda, madness; avahitthā, hiding emotions; bodha, perceptiveness; svapna, sleep; supti, state of dreaming; klama, fatigue; glāni, a feeling that one is in a faulty position; vyādhi, sickness; and mṛti, yearning for death, are the vyabhicārī bhāvas in this rasa.

Mada, inebriety; śrama, fatigue; trāsa, fear; apasmṛti, absentmindedness; ālasya, indolence; augrya, volatility; krodha, anger; asūyā, jealousy and fault finding; and nidrā, sleepiness, are very uncommon in pritā-rasa.

“When meeting Kṛṣṇa, harṣa, humour; garva, pride; and dhṛti, forbearance, are expressed. And, in separation from Kṛṣṇa, glāni, a feeling that one is in a faulty position; vyādhi, disease; and mṛtyu, death, are experienced. The other eighteen bhāvas, beginning with self-disparagement, are exhibited in union as well as in separation from Kṛṣṇa.”

Vrajanātha, “Kindly elucidate the sthāyi-bhāva of pritārasa.”

Gosvāmī, “Deep feelings of awe and respect for Kṛṣṇa, the Master, simultaneously produce tremors in the heart and profound affection for Him. When these two unite, prīti, strong attachment, becomes the sthāyi-bhāva in this rasa. In śānta-rasa, rati, attachment, alone is the sthāyi-bhāva; whereas, in pritārasa, mamatā, deep affectionate possessive attachment, strengthens rati to form prīti, which then becomes the sthāyi-bhāva of this mellow. Prīti mixed with sambhrama, great respect, is sambhramaprīti, which is gradually refined into prema, love; sneha, affection in love; and rāga, deeply rooted love.

“As soon as sambhramaprīti sheds the mood of awe and reverence, it crystallizes into prema. As prema further concentrates and causes the heart to melt, it is known as sneha. In sneha, the devotee cannot bear to be separated from Kṛṣṇa even for a moment. When the devotee reaches that stage in sneha where sorrow and grief are felt as happiness, the state of rāga is achieved. In rāga, separation from Kṛṣṇa evokes the wish to leave one’s body.

“The adhikṛta dāsa and āśrita dāsa can only reach up to the stage of prema. The pāriṣada dāsa is able to achieve sneha. The vrajānuga-dāsa—Kṛṣṇa’s servitors in the Vraja mood like Parīkṣit Mahārāja, Dāruka, and Uddhava—are capable of attaining rāga. In tandem with the blossoming of rāga, the first flush of sakhya-rasa is also felt.

“The learned paṇḍitas of bhakti-tattva state that in sakhyarasa union with Kṛṣṇa is called yoga and separation from Kṛṣṇa is called ayoga. Ayoga is divided into two types: utkaṇṭhita, anxious yearning; and viyoga, separation. Yoga is of three kinds: siddhi, perfect; tuṣṭi, satisfying; and sthiti, stable. When one suddenly sees Kṛṣṇa in the state of utkaṇṭhita, anxious yearning, caused by separation, then siddhiyoga takes place. Meeting Kṛṣṇa after a period of viyoga, separation, is called tuṣṭi-yoga, deeply satisfying. Living together with Kṛṣṇa is known as sthiti-yoga.”

Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, we have understood sambhramaprīti, service in awe and veneration; now kindly explain gauravaprīti, service in respectful affection.”

Gosvāmī, “Those dāsas who feel the pride of lālyaabhimāna, being personally maintained and nourished by Kṛṣṇa, are said to have gaurava-prīti. However, prīti only progresses to gaurava when further nurtured by suitable sāmagrī, such as vibhāva, anubhāva, etc. The Supreme Lord Śrī Hari and His lālyadāsa, wards and dependent servitors, are the ālambana of gaurava-prīti. The viṣaya-rūpa-ālambana, supporting object, of gaurava-prīti is Kṛṣṇa as Mahāguru, the great guru; Mahākīrti, the possessor of great fame; Mahābuddhi, the possessor of great intelligence; Mahābala, the possessor of great power and influence; Rakṣaka, the infallible protector; and Kṛṣṇa, the perfect maintainer.

“There are two varieties of lālya-dāsa: kaniṣṭha, juniors; and putra, sons. Sāraṇa, Gada and Subhadra are proud of being kaniṣṭhadāsa, whereas Pradyumna, Cārudeṣṇa and Samba are proud of being Kṛṣṇa’s putradāsa. Kṛṣṇa’s vātsalyabhāva, protective affection, consisting of smiling, merciful affection, and so on, act as the uddīpana of this rasa.

“Some of the anubhāvas manifested by the lālyadāsa immersed in gauravaprīti are sitting at a lower level in the presence of Kṛṣṇa; following in the footsteps of their guru, Kṛṣṇa; discarding independent and whimsical ways; and so on. The sañcāri-bhāvas and vyabhicārī-bhāvas are as before as in sambhramaprīti.”

Vrajanātha, “What is the meaning of the word gaurava?”

Gosvāmī, “A parental-filial relationship wherein Kṛṣṇa is considered the father, superior, or guru, based on one’s family or close affinity with Kṛṣṇa, is the understanding of gaurava. Gaurava-prīti is the intense and affectionate absorption in Kṛṣṇa, seeing Him as one’s protector and maintainer, which is therefore the sthāyibhāva of this rasa.”

Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, we have understood prītirasa, which is also known as dāsyarasa. Now kindly explain to us the nature of the preya-rasa-bhaktas, who are in sakhya-rasa.’’

Gosvāmī, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His friends and confidants, known as sakhās, are the ālambana of this rasa. The two-handed flute-playing Vrajendranandana Kṛṣṇa is the viṣaya-ālambana, beloved relishable object, and Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās are the āśrayā-ālambana, receptacles of this mellow.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the different types of friends and confidants and their particular symptoms?”

Gosvāmī, “In rūpa, form; guṇa, qualities; and veśa, dress; the friends and confidants are similar to Kṛṣṇa’s devotees in the dāsya-rasa. Yet, unlike the sambhrama-jñāna, awe and reverence, of the dāsyarasa devotees towards Kṛṣṇa, the sakhās are related with Kṛṣṇa through viśrambha-bhāva, which evokes trust, confidentiality and a mood of equality. The sakhās are engaged in many activities, serving Kṛṣṇa in various ways as friends full of the desire to please Him. They are of two types: dvārakāsambandha, related to Dvārakā; and vrajasambandha, related to Vraja. Arjuna, Bhīma, Draupadī, and Sudāmā Vipra, etc., are dvārakā-sambandha sakhā. Among them Arjuna is the closest to Kṛṣṇa.

“Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās in Vraja always desire to be in His company; they are intensely eager to see Him, because Kṛṣṇa is their very life and soul. Thus, they are the principal sakhās. The sakhās of Vraja are of four kinds: suhṛd-sakhā, well-wishing friend; sakhā, friend; priyasakhā, dear friend; and priyanarmasakhā, most intimate and confidential friend.

“The suhṛdsakhās possess a touch of the guardianship sentiment for Kṛṣṇa. They are slightly senior in age to Kṛṣṇa and carry weapons to protect Kṛṣṇa from harm and from being attacked by enemies. Subhadra, Maṇḍalībhadra, Bhadravardhana, Gobhaṭa, Yakṣa, Indrabhaṭa, Bhadrāṅga, Vīrabhadra, Mahāguṇa, Vijaya and Balabhadra are suhṛdsakhās. Among them, Maṇḍalībhadra and Balabhadra are most prominent.

“The sakhās are younger in age to Kṛṣṇa; they possess a tinge of dāsyabhāva, the mood of a servitor, but are fully in sakhyarasa. Viśāla, Vṛṣabha, Ojasvī, Devaprastha, Varūthapa, Maranda, Kusumāpīḍa, Maṇibandha and Karandhama are some of Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost sakhāsakhās. Among the sakhās, Devaprastha is the closest to Kṛṣṇa.

“Kṛṣṇa’s priyasakhās are equal in age to Him, and their mood towards Kṛṣṇa is pure unalloyed sakhyabhāva, camaraderie and confidence. Śrīdāmā, Sudāmā, Dāmā, Vasudāmā, Kiṅkiṇi, Stoka-kṛṣṇa, Aṁśu, Bhadrasena, Vilāsī, Puṇḍarīka, Viṭaṅka and Kalaviṅka are some of the eminent priya-sakhās.

“The fourth kind of friends, priya-narma-sakhās, are superior to the other three. They are very intimate and confidential friends of Kṛṣṇa and are most flexible and many-sided in their relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, and Ujjvala, are some of Kṛṣṇa’s priya-narma-sakhās. Ujjvala, being very humorous and jovial, is always ready to crack jokes.

“Amongst all these friends, who all love Kṛṣṇa extremely, some are nityasiddha, eternal associates; some are suracara, promoted Devas; and some are successful and promoted sādhakas. In the mellow of friendship, they perform a wonderful variety of services, adding great charm and beauty to the unlimited pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the different uddīpanas of this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Kṛṣṇa’s age, His boyish charm, horn, flute, conch, amusements, jocularity, prowess, the effort of performing and helping in pastimes are the uddīpana in sakhya-rasa. Further uddīpana are Kṛṣṇa’s different ages: kumāra, childhood (one to five years); paugaṇḍa, when He takes the cows grazing (six to fifteen years); and kaiśore, youth, when He resides in Gokula Vraja but leaves for Mathurā (sixteen years).”

Vrajanātha, “What are the anubhāvas that are common to all the various types of Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās?”

Gosvāmī, “Arm-wrestling, ball games, dice-playing, playing piggy-back, playing with sticks, Kṛṣṇa declares a wish and His friends compete to do it first, sitting together on the same seat or swinging upon a swing together, joking and chatting together, water sports, playing with monkeys, making music and dancing are the anubhāvas of all the sakhās in general.

“The speciality of suhṛdsakhās is to offer good advice and be always forward in every activity. The sakhās specialize in preparing chewing-betel, decorating Kṛṣṇa with tilaka, sandalwood pulp, and so on. The priyasakhās are known for their bravery and often engage in sports and wrestling competitions with Kṛṣṇa; sometimes, they are victorious and receive medals and awards from Kṛṣṇa. To assist Kṛṣṇa in the arrangements for His mādhuryarasa pastimes is the prerogative of priya-narma-sakhās. Like Kṛṣṇa’s dāsa, they also decorate Kṛṣṇa with wild flowers, fan Him, and so on.”

Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, what is the degree of the sattvika-bhāvas and sañcāribhāvas in this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “They are slightly more pronounced here than in dāsyarasa.”

Vrajanātha, “What is the sthāyi-bhāva of this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Western Division 9.3.45:

vimukta-sambhramā yā syād viśrambhātmā ratir dvayoḥ
prāyaḥ samānayor atra sā sakhyaṁ sthāyi śabda-bhāk

“‘Viśrambha, the affectionate exchange between two equals which is devoid of the elements of reverence and deference, but is full of love, trust, and confidence is called sakhyarasa, fraternal mellow. Thus, this is the sthāyibhāva in this rasa.’”

Vrajanātha, “Kindly further elucidate the meaning of viśrambha?”

Gosvāmī, “Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains viśrambha with these words in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Western Division 9.3.46:

viśrambho gāḍha-viśvāsa-viśeṣo yantraṇojjhitaḥ

“‘The acknowledgement of complete equality between two persons reflecting unquestioning trust and confidentiality is known as viśrambha.’”

Vrajanātha, “Kindly describe the gradual progression of the levels of attachment in this rasa.”

Gosvāmī, “Sakhya-rasa is a matrix for prema, sneha, and rāga, expanding all the way up to praṇaya.”

Vrajanātha, “What are the symptoms of praṇaya in this rasa?”

Gosvāmī, “Although capable of accommodating feelings of respect and deference, praṇaya is rati completely devoid of sambhrama, awe and reverence, even when such an emotion may appear to be appropriate. Thus, sakhya-rasa is joyfully magnificent. In pritā-rasa, the serving mellow, and vātsalyarasa, the parental mellow, Kṛṣṇa and His devotees exhibit an understanding of unequal status in their bhāva. However, that is absent in sakhya-rasa, which is also known as preya-rasa; thus, sakhyarasa is certainly greatly favoured amongst these rasas, because in sakhyarasa, Kṛṣṇa and His devotees freely exchange the sweet bhāva of unrestrained love in equality between one another.”


Thus ends the twenty-ninth chapter of Jaiva-dharma, entitled:
Further Consideration of Rasa-tattva, Part Three: The Rasas of Śānta, Dāsya and Sakhy

Jaiva Dharma - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraJaiva Dharma - Chapter Twenty Eight
Jaiva Dharma - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraJaiva Dharma - Chapter Thirty

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