madhurera sthāyī bhāba labhe jate abirbhāba
boli tāhā śuno eka-mane
abhijoga o biṣoya sambandhābhimāna-dwoya
tadīya biśeṣa upamāne
1) Madhura-rati, or conjugal affection, is the sthāyī-bhāva of the madhura-rasa. Now please hear with rapt attention as I explain the sequence of its development. The seven causal ingredients are: 1) Abhiyoga (expression of heartfelt emotions as joking complaints) 2) Viṣaya (the five sense perceptions of Kṛṣṇa, namely sound, touch, form, taste and smell) 3) Sambandha (Kṛṣṇa’s relatives and family members) 4) Abhimāna (the feeling that Kṛṣṇa is one’s own) 5) Tadīya Viśeṣa (Kṛṣṇa’s personal specialties, like His footprints, favorite pastures, etc.) 6) Upamā (poetic comparison of Kṛṣṇa to other things) 7) Svabhāva (love that arises naturally without external stimulus)
swabhāba āśroya kori’ citte rati abatori
śṛṅgāra rasera kore puṣṭi
abhijoga ādi choya anye rati-hetu hoya
braja-debīra tāhe nāhi dṛṣṭi
2) Rati develops in the heart of the practicing devotee when all these features act together under the shelter of the 7th ingredient svabhāva, and thus the conjugal mellow becomes nourished. However, all the Vraja gopīs have natural rati as their svabhāva, so for them there is no need of stimulation by the first six above-mentioned ingredients headed by abhiyoga.
swataḥ-siddhi rati tāṅre sambandhādi-sahākāre
samartha koriyā rākhe sadā
kṛṣṇa-sebā binā tāṅra udyamo nāhika āra
swīya sukha ceṣṭa nāhi kadā
3) The natural, spontaneous transcendental rati of the gopīs is so strongly fixed up that they merely take help from the above-mentioned six ingredients, instead of depending on them for stimulation. Except for Kṛṣṇa’s service, there is no question of their ever performing any other endeavor. Indeed, it is verily impossible for them to strive for their own personal happiness at any time, even to the slightest degree.
ei rati prauḍha hoya mahā-bhāba dāsa pāya
jāra tulya prāpti āra nāi
sarbādbhuta camatkāra sambhogecchā e prakāra
barṇibāre bākya nāhi pāi
4) When this type of pure attachment becomes most matured, then the final stage it attains is called mahā-bhāva, the most exalted, sublime form of transcendental ecstasy. There is no comparison anywhere to such bliss. Their desire for this type of selfless union is the most wonderful thing to observe, and it really makes one astonished even to think of it. Therefore, I can certainly find no suitable words to describe the manifestation of this topmost divine grace called mahā-bhāva.