Further Consideration of Rasa-tattva
Part One: Anubhāva, Sāttvika-bhāva and Vyabhicārī-bhāva
by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Śrī Sarvabhāvana Prabhu)
The next day, the two sādhakas, after having attended the noon āratī and honouring the mahā-prasāda of the Jagannātha temple, arrived at the Rādhā-kānta temple thirsty for knowledge of rasa. Vijaya-kumāra and Vrajanātha were well versed in the scriptures, sincere Vaiṣṇavas, and residents of the holy dhāma of Navadvīpa, so the inhabitants of the Rādhā-kānta temple āśrama held them in high esteem and received them very respectfully whenever they visited.
Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī had finished prasādam and was ready for his meeting with Vijaya-kumāra and Vrajanātha. He presented a marvellous appearance, attired in the clean, fresh robes of a renunciant, with glowing ūrdhva–puṇḍra tilaka applied upon his prominent forehead and hari-nāma written with tilaka all over his body conspicuously. Four strands of thick, dark tulasī neck beads were coiled around his neck, his right hand was inside a little bag holding his chanting beads, and his eyes were half-closed in deep meditation whilst relishing kṛṣṇa-nāma. From time to time pearly teardrops would stream down from his eyes, moistening his chest. At intervals he would cry out in the anguish of separation, “O Gaurāṅga! O Nityānanda!” Then, his ample, softly glowing darkish frame would become quiet again. He sat on a straw mat, his wooden clogs lay at a distance and his water pot stood within reach. His disciple Dhyānacandra sat nearby, writing down the procedures of Deity worship as given by his guru.
When Vijaya-kumāra and Vrajanātha entered the room, they offered prostrated obeisances in front of Śrīla Gosvāmī, who affectionately hugged them and made them sit down comfortably. As Śrīla Gosvāmī began they listened attentively to his words, the subject of discussion being rasa-tattva, “Yesterday we spoke about vibhāva. Today we will cover the three other sāmagrī-bhāvas: anubhāva, subsequent ecstasy; sattvika-bhāva, constitutional ecstasy; and vyabhicārī-bhāva, aggressive ecstasy.
“We have already defined vibhāva as the root cause, which ignites rati, loving attachment, for the beloved within the heart of the lover. Rati churns up the bhāva that is latent in the citta, heart and consciousness, of the sādhaka. The various emotions that manifest externally in response to this awakened bhāva are called anubhāva. Although the anubhāvas when externally expressed seem to have a similarity to vikāra, the physical transformations caused by loving ecstasy, in truth they are internal emotions in response to the bhāva within the heart of the sādhaka.
“Nṛtya, dancing; vilunṭḥana, rolling on the ground; gīta, singing; krośana, lamenting loudly; tanu–moṭana, stretching and yawning; huṅkāra making loud roaring sounds; jṛmbhana, yawning; dīrgha–śvāsa, releasing sighs; lokānpekṣitā, being neglectful of people’s reactions; lālāsrāva, salivation; aṭṭa–hāsa, raucously laughing; ghūrṇā, swooning; and hikkā, hiccoughing, are anubhāva, external symptoms indicating the presence of bhāva.”
Vrajanātha, “How can these physical transformations enhance the taste for rasa in sthāyi-bhāva? Relishing rasa is actually an inner experience, whereas the anubhāva symptoms find expression externally. How then may they be considered as sāmagrī–bhāva, ingredients of rasa?”
Gosvāmī, “Son, you have studied rhetoric and as such your mind is incisive. I have never come across another person who asked such probing questions, though when I was studying the science of rasa from Śrīla Vakreśvara Paṇḍita I had similar questions. My Gurudeva very kindly dissipated my doubts, and this esoteric science of rasa-tattva was revealed to me in this way.
“When the jīva’s internal activities on the transcendental śuddha-sattva plane stimulate and nourish bhāva, a variety of vaicitrya, wonderful spiritual feelings, is spontaneously manifested. This transcendental variety infuses the heart with ineffable bliss in many different ways. Bliss causes vikāra, physical transformations, which are exhibited as the ecstatic symptoms known as udbhāsvara.
“When the heart is effervescent with emotion, the devotee is seen dancing; when his heart hums with joy, the devotee sings aloud, and so on. These expressions of spiritual emotion further nourish rasa. The exhibition of these ecstatic symptoms is not the main cause of ecstatic emotion—which is actually vibhāva—but anubhāva is the follower and experienced as the supporter of vibhāva. When anubhāva is churned up in the heart by vibhāva, splendid symptoms are displayed in the body. Thus, when the heart is flushed with vibhāva and sthāyi-bhāva, a second function is initiated within the heart in the form of anubhāva, which then acts to further nourish the vibhāva. Therefore, anubhāva really is a positive and independent sāmagrī–bhāva.
“The ecstatic symptoms are divided into two divisions: śīta, cooling, and kṣepaṇa, propelling. Singings, yawning, and so on are called śīta. Dancing and bodily contortions are called kṣepaṇa. There are other anubhāva symptoms, but they are extremely rare, for instance: utphullata, the entire body pulsating with excessive jubilation; rakta-udgama, exudation of blood; and asthibhiḥ-sandhi-viyoga or karṣaṇa, dislocation or compression of the joints. The extraordinary symptoms like kūrmākāra, taking the form of a tortoise as a result of ecstatic emotion, that our most beloved Śrī Nimāi Caitanya exhibited are neither possible, nor applicable to sādhakas.”
On account of the elevated plane of discussion, the two seekers of knowledge paused to ponder over what they had just heard. Their esoteric quest was satiated, at least for some time. Feeling gratitude for their benefactor, they spontaneously stretched forward and gathered the dust from the feet of Śrīla Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī, applying it reverentially to their foreheads.
After a while, they set forth further inquiries, “Śrīla Gosvāmī, what is sattvika–vikāra?”
Gosvāmī, “When the purified consciousness, known as citta, is under siege by any kind of bhāva, either directly or indirectly, this state of the citta is described as sattva. The range of emotions directly produced by this state of sattva is called sattvika–bhāva. They are of three kinds: snigdha, wet; digdha, moist; and rūkṣa, dry.”
Vrajanātha, “Kindly explain these three sattvika-bhāvas.”
Gosvāmī, “Snigdha-sattvika-bhāva is divided into mukhya, principal, and gauṇa, subsidiary. When the heart is flooded with mukhya-rati, a direct mood of loving Kṛṣṇa, mukhya-snigdha-sattvika-bhāva is expressed through stambha, paralysis; sveda, perspiration; and other principal symptoms. Where rati is slightly indirect or obstructed, for instance when Kṛṣṇa is at a distance, it is called gauṇa-rati, which produces gauṇa-snigdha-sattvika-bhāva—the two main symptoms being vaivarṇye, pallor; and svarabhaṅge, aphasia, which causes symptoms such as faltering of the voice.
“If, besides mukhya and gauṇa-rati, other loving sentiments accost the heart, then the lukewarm bhāva of rati, digdha-sattvika-bhāva, is manifested through kampa, shivering. Further, if an ostensibly devotional person who does not possess true rati is struck with joy and astonishment by hearing the wonderful qualities and pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, which then leads to ānanda, he experiences rūkṣa-bhāva, dry emotions. Romāñca, horripilation, is an exemplar.”
Vrajanātha, “How are the sattvika–bhāvas produced?”
Gosvāmī, “When the citta of the sādhaka—who is immersed in sattvika-bhāva, pure spiritual emotion—is united with the prāṇa, the bodily life-energy, then the prāṇa is placed in an abnormal condition, which causes perturbations in the external body. As a result, symptoms like paralysis, perspiration, etc., are manifested.”
Vrajanātha, “How many types of sattvika-vikāra, ecstatic transformations, are there?”
Gosvāmī, “There are eight sattvika-vikāra: stambha, paralysis; sveda, perspiration; romāñca, horripilation; svara-bheda, faltering of the voice; vepathu or kampa, shivering; vaivarṇya, pallor; aśru, tears; and pralaya, devastation, unconsciousness.
“Prāṇa moves inside the body in a balanced manner upon the vāyu, life-air, which is a part of the gross elements. However, under certain circumstances, the prāṇa predominates and besides associating with the life-air sometimes mixes with one of the other remaining four mahābhuta, gross elements, of the external body, which are earth, water, fire, and ether. This conjunction causes different transformations in the body in accordance with the particular mahābhuta with which prāṇa is mixing.
“When predominating prāṇa mixes with bhumi, then stambha, paralysis, is manifested; when mixing with apa, then aśru, tears, are manifested; when mixing with tejā, then vaivarṇa, pallor, and sveda, perspiration, are manifested; when mixing with ākāśa, the body is overcome by pralaya, swoon and unconsciousness.
“When predominating prāṇa is situated within its own element air, there are three varying intensities of mixture each with its own particular effect. When the intensity is manda, weak, the manifestation is kampa, shivering. When the intensity is madhya, medium, the manifestation is svara-bheda, aphasia, for example, faltering of the voice. And when the intensity is tīvra, strong, the manifestation is romāñca, horripilation.
“These eight sattvika-vikāras act both internally and externally, and in all cases they may be laced with extreme perturbations. By some people, such vikāras are called variously bhāva, principal emotion, and anubhāva, subordinate emotion. However, one should note that anubhāva acts externally; hence, it cannot be designated as sattvika–bhāva. The activities of anubhāva—manifesting symptoms, for example, of nṛtya, dancing—are generated by the intervention and action of the intelligence; thus, sattvika-bhāva is not directly involved. Sattvika-bhāva, however, acts directly without any interference of the intellect in such manifestations as stambha, being stunned. Therefore, anubhāva and sattvika–bhāva are separate, individual bhāvas.”
Vrajanātha, “Revered Gosvāmījī, kindly explain the cause of symptoms like stambha, etc.”
Gosvāmī, “Stambha occurs when the devotee is speechless, feeling vacant and acute inertia because of one or all of the following emotions: harṣa, delight; bhāya, fear; āścarya, astonishment; viṣāda, extreme depression; or amarṣa, rage. Sveda, perspiration, accompanied by salivation and melting of the heart, is caused by delight, fear, or rage. Romāñca, horripilation, happens because of astonishment, delight, enthusiasm, or fear. Svara-bheda, aphasia, leading to faltering of the voice, is prompted by lassitude, amazement, wrath, pleasure, or fear. Kampa, uncontrollable shivering, is a result of laulya, spiritual greed, brought about by fear, anger, or delight. Vaivarṇa, pallor, is caused by a combination of lassitude, rage, and fear. Aśru, involuntary tears, pour out caused by feelings of delight, anger, or lassitude. Tears of delight are śītalā, cold, and tears of anger are uṣṇa, hot. Pralaya, unconsciousness, is caused by overpowering spiritual joy or sorrow that erases consciousness and the ability to act, thus causing swoon and falling to the ground.
“Sattvika-bhāva has four levels, depending on the intensity of the pure emotion: dhūmayitā, smoking; jvalitā, smouldering, uddīpta, alight; and sūddīpta, intensely flaming. Rūkṣa-sattvika-bhāva, dry emotion, is mostly dhūmayitā, smoking. Snigdha-sattvika-bhāva, wet emotion, generally reaches the higher intensity levels. Rati is the cause of the most wonderful and inexplicable bliss, but because rūkṣa-bhāva lacks rati it is flaccid, and thus without splendour.”
Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, I understand that sattvika-bhāva blossoms in the heart as a result of enormous good fortune. How shall we understand the bhāvas expressed in stage performances by artistes and by many other persons in order to achieve their particular worldly objectives?”
Gosvāmī, “Sattvika-bhāva springing from sincere execution of unalloyed and unmotivated devotional service is vaiṣṇava–bhāvam, spiritual emotion expressed by pure Vaiṣṇava devotees. All the other inferior bhāvas are divided into four categories in a descending scale: raty-ābhāsa, false semblance of love; sattva-ābhāsa, impure emotion that is a distant and loose resemblance of pure emotion; niḥsattvā, postured emotion for a material purpose; and pratīpa, emotion born from a hostile attitude.”
Vrajanātha, “What is raty-ābhāsa?”
Gosvāmī, “The emotional attachment expressed for the Supreme Lord by the aspirants for salvation, such as the monistic māyāvādīs sannyāsīs of the Śaṅkara school, upon hearing topics about Kṛṣṇa is called raty-ābhāsa.”
Vrajanātha, “What is sattva–ābhāsa?”
Gosvāmī, “When narrations about Kṛṣṇa’s activities are heard by the dull and materially conditioned, they may feel joy, astonishment, and material sentimental emotion known as sattva–ābhāsa, which superficially appears like the ecstatic, transcendental, pure emotion of sattvika-bhāva. Soft-hearted women, empiricists and mīmāṁsaka philosophers may experience this emotion.”
Vrajanātha, “What is niḥsattvā?”
Gosvāmī, “The postured sentiments—often expressed through crying and horripilation—displayed by persons with duplicitous hearts, by stage actors, and by those using such display to achieve their mundane goals, are known as niḥsattvā. Generally, such hypocritical persons are hard-hearted materialists, but by constantly exercising their tear glands, they produce artificial tears, and soon such false crying becomes second nature.”
Vrajanātha, “What is pratīpa?”
Gosvāmī, “When one performs activities that go against Kṛṣṇa and His edicts, fear and anger arise. These emotions are known as pratīpa-bhāva-ābhāsa. Kaṁsa’s fearful demeanour is a fine example of pratīpa.”
Vrajanātha, “Vibhāva, anubhāva, and sattvika–bhāva are now clearer to us than ever. We have also understood the differences between anubhāva and sattvika–bhāva. Kindly explain the remaining sāmagrī-bhāva, which is known as vyabhicārī–bhāva, aggressive ecstasy.”
Gosvāmī, “All in all there are thirty-three vyabhicārī-bhāvas. Vi means ‘specifically’; abhi means ‘towards’; and cārī means ‘moving’. They are called vyabhicārī–bhāvas because they specifically move towards and nourish sthāyi–bhāva. As they sañcārita, travel throughout, the body, mind and words, they are also referred to as sañcārī–bhāvas. They are waves that arise from the nectarean ocean of sthāyi–bhāva causing it to swell before they return to their source.
“The thirty-three vyabhicārī-bhāvas, bodily symptoms, which manifest in ecstatic love, are as follows: (1) nirveda, indifference; (2) viṣāda, moroseness; (3) dainya, meekness; (4) glāni, a feeling that one is in a faulty position; (5) śrama, fatigue; (6) mada, madness; (7) garva, pride; (8) śaṅkā, doubt; (9) trāsa, shock; (10) āvega, intense emotion; (11) unmāda, craziness; (12) apasmāra, forgetfulness; (13) vyādhi, disease; (14) moha, bewilderment; (15) mṛti, death; (16) ālasya, laziness; (17) jāḍya, invalidity; (18) vrīḍā, shame; (19) avahitthā, concealment; (20) smṛti, remembrance; (21) vitarka, argument; (22) cintā, contemplation; (23) mati, attention; (24) dhṛti, forbearance; (25) harṣa, jubilation; (26) autsukya, eagerness; (27) augrya, violence; (28) amarṣa, anger; (29) asūyā, jealousy; (30) cāpalya, impudence; (31) nidrā, sleep; (32) supti, deep sleep; and (33) prabodha, awakening.
“There are two groups of sañcārī-bhāva: svatantra, independent; and paratantra, dependent. Dependent sañcārī-bhāva is further divided into vara, favourable, and avara, unfavourable. Vara is also divided into two: sākṣāt, direct; and vyavahita, indirect. Svatantra sañcārī-bhāva is divided into three: rati-śūnya, without rati, love; rati-anusparśa, touching rati; and rati–gandha, flavoured with rati.
“When these bhāvas appear in persons who are adverse to Kṛṣṇa, or are directed toward vipakṣa, an inappropriate person or object, they are of two types: prātikūlya, contrary; and anaucitya, unfit. All the bhāvas have four different daśās, phases: utpatti, birth and growth of ecstatic emotion; sandhi, union of two emotions; śābalya, friction upon fusion of various emotions; and śānti, pacification of emotion.”
Vrajanātha, “We would like to know about these four phases of bhāva in more detail. Bhāva-utpatti, creation of ecstatic emotion, is easy to understand, but not the others.”
Gosvāmī, “The confluence of two similar or dissimilar bhāvas is called sandhi, union. For example, śrama, fatigue, and ālasya, laziness, may arise simultaneously—that is a sandhi of two similar emotions. Harṣa, pleasure, and śaṅkā, anxiety, may appear simultaneously—that is a sandhi of two dissimilar emotions.”
Vrajanātha, “What is bhāva–śābalya?”
Gosvāmī, “Śābalya is a condition where many different bhāvas assert themselves, simultaneously causing friction and jostling amongst themselves, and where one bhāva even tries to overpower the other. When Kaṁsa heard of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, he experienced a competition between kroḍa, anger, and trāsa, fear, in his consciousness. This is bhāva-śābalya.”
Vrajanātha, “What is bhāva–śānti?”
Gosvāmī, “When bhāvas, which have reached great intensity, are pacified and fade away, we speak of bhāva-śānti, pacification of emotion. Kṛṣṇa’s young cowherd boy-friends were extremely anxious and grief-stricken when they could not see Kṛṣṇa, but when they heard His flute, even from a distance, their viṣāda, trepidation, was instantly calmed down.”
Vrajanātha, “Gurudeva, is there more to be said on this topic?”
Gosvāmī, “Thirty-three vyabhicārī-bhāvas as well as the one mukhya-sthāyi-bhāva and the seven gauṇa-sthāyi-bhāvas, which will be dealt with later, together total forty-one bhāvas. All of them produce vikāras in the bodily system and are citta–vṛtti, tendencies of the heart that produce bhāva.”
Vrajanātha, “Which specific bhāvas do they give birth to?”
Gosvāmī, “They create the eight aṣṭa-sattvika-bhāvas and all the anubhāvas that follow the central vibhāva.”
Vrajanātha, “Are they all an innate part of the original spiritual nature and personality of the devotee?”
Gosvāmī, “No, some are natural, but others are āgantuka, transitory and adventitious. The sthāyi–bhāva of every individual devotee is his natural bhāva. In general the vyabhicārī–bhāvas are transitory.”
Vrajanātha, “Do all the individual devotees possess the same bhāva?”
Gosvāmī, “No, the devotees are naturally individuals, therefore their inclinations are particular and varied. According to the devotee’s innate disposition, different bhāvas manifest and acquire a diversity of character. In addition, the bhāvas take on variegated shades depending on the condition of the devotee’s citta, namely gariṣṭha, superior; lagiṣṭha, light; and gāmbhīrya, grave. However, amṛta, the nectar of devotion, is always fluid by nature and is thus the intrinsic characteristic of the heart of all the devotees.
“Let us stop today’s conversation at this point, we shall continue tomorrow, when I will explain sthāyi–bhāva.”
After offering their prostrate obeisances before Śrī Gopāla-guru Gosvāmī, Vijaya-kumāra and Vrajanātha begged permission to leave.
Thus ends Chapter Twenty-seven of Jaiva-dharma, entitled:
Further Consideration of Rasa-tattva, Part One: Anubhāva, Sāttvika-bhāva and Vyabhicārī-bhāva