Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
When is rasa relished? - Is rasa relished during practice?
Radhapada - Wed, 01 May 2002 23:20:16 +0530
I have understood (but maybe I'm wrong) that bhakti rasa with all its ingredients is experienced when one attains prema. What is it then that the devotee tastes and experiences who has not attained the higher levels of bhakti progression? For instance one may experience a relish within the heart during kirtan, smaranam, or hearing lila katha. Is it a partial manifestion of bhakti rasa? Is it a shadow? I would like to hear some insight?
Raga - Wed, 01 May 2002 23:58:34 +0530
I have understood (but maybe I'm wrong) that bhakti rasa with all its ingredients is experienced when one attains prema.
This is correct. When appropriate vibhava, sattvika-bhava, anubhava and vyabhicari-bhava combine on the platform of a certain sthayi-bhava, this overwhelming experience is called bhakti-rasa, and it is considered to be one of the five rasas depending on the respective ingredient sthayi-bhava, a particular rati or attraction towards the visaya.
What is it then that the devotee tastes and experiences who has not attained the higher levels of bhakti progression? For instance one may experience a relish within the heart during kirtan, smaranam, or hearing lila katha. Is it a partial manifestion of bhakti rasa? Is it a shadow? I would like to hear some insight?
To say it would be a partial manifestation or a shadow of bhakti rasa would imply that a shadow of each of the five ingredients of bhakti-rasa was present. However, it is rare to have a wholistic shadow experience of divinity which could justly be called a shadow of bhakti-rasa with all of its five ingredients partially manifest at the same time.
That which manifests is rati, mainly the traces of a certain sthayi-bhava manifesting within the heart, having been stimulated by a fraction of a particular vibhava, and occasionally mixed with traces of the other ingredients of bhakti-rasa.
Depending on the level of the individual, it is either suddha-rati (for the jata-rati-sadhaka) or partially manifested rati, rati-abhasa.
Rati-abhasa is of two kinds, pratibimba (reflection) and chaya (shadow). The former refers to the abhasa-experience of those, whose hearts are filled with anya-abhilasa (karma and jnana-abhilasa), and the latter refers to the abhasa-experience of those who are aiming at the correct direction, but whose vision is still clouded by obstacles. The latter is considered to be a more pure form of the same, a fragmental manifestation of suddha-rati.
May the learned assembly correct any mistakes in what I presented here. Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is a good source for further insight in this regard.
Raga - Thu, 02 May 2002 19:32:04 +0530
A further bit of consideration from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.3.1) on the concept of rati and its appearance within the heart:zuddha-sattva-vizeSAtmA
kRd asau bhAva ucyate
“A specific manifestation of suddha-sattva, by nature like a ray of the sun of prema, experienced as different tastes, this cause of softness in the heart is called bhava.”
This deep rati, experienced as sthayi-bhava, is a ray of the sun of prema. The experience of joy and relish prior to the stage of bhava is a reflection of this ray which is about to shine within our hearts. Just as the darkness of the night is gradually emancipated by the approaching of the dawn, though we may not see the rays of the sun even during the early twilight hours, in the same way, the sun of prema along with the rays of bhava clarify the darkness of the heart and cause jubilation even prior to their actual manifestation.
jiva - Thu, 02 May 2002 23:59:54 +0530
That which manifest may be bhava-bhakti,also.
Bhava-bhakti which is based on inward emotion of devotion is the preliminary stage of development of prema.Bhava-bhakti has been defined as unique,pure and inborn feeling which is very much similar in nature to that of first `dawn in love` and which ushers in smoothness of mind in the sadhakas arising from ruci or relish
(cf.commentary by Jiva Goswamin on BRS I .3.1.)Whenever bhava-bhakti sprouts in the sadhakas,the attendant circumstances (anubhavas) automatically make their appearance in him.They, being the placidity of mind (ksanti) an effort to utilise one`s time to successful realization of this feeling,liking for singing of theName, desire for recital of the Lord,etc.(ibid., I .3.25.)
It has been stated that bhava-bhakti does not arise in its true form in all sadhakas owing to the continuance of thirst for wordly enjoyments and for liberation (ibid.I .3.42-43.).Bhava-bhakti may take the form of a semblance of this feeling of attachment in such sadhakas which is known as rati-abhasa(ibid., I .3.44.).This rati-abhasa may appear in the form of either reflection(pratibimba) or shadow (chaya)(ibid.,I .3.45.).When rati-abhasa takes the
form of pratibimba,one or two characteristic signs such as tears etc. appear in the sadhaka and when it takes the form of chaya,only a short lived curiosity for the Lord may occur in the sadhaka. Rati-abhasa although,is a semblance of bhava-bhakti,it has one adventage over bhava-bhakti i.e.,it is attainable by sadhakas belonging to `lower category` without much difficulty.It has been said that this rati-abhasa may all of sudden change into real bhava at any time (ibid. I .3.52.).
Maybe it would be worthwile to point out the difference between bhava and rasa.Bhava is only a subjective feeling while rasa involves enjoyment which soothes and produces bliss in subject.Further,bhava,has also been defined by Rupa Goswamin as that feeling which is cherished by an intellectual person with his concentration of mind through deep rooted impressions( BRS II .5.133.) ,while rasa is that wonderful experience which has been fully relished in the pure and undefiled heart transcending the stage of bhava(ibid., II .5.132.).Jiva Goswamin in his commentary on above sums up that the difference between bhava and rasa is that of dhyana(meditation) and samadhi(deep concentration).In other words,bhava is a primary stage while rasa is the culminating one.
In Sanskrit poetics,bhava,has been definied as those feelings which arise in the heart for a short-time only and which cannot be transformed into rasa even when combined with vibhava,anubhava, etc.,while rasa has been defined as a totality of feelings that results from the combination of vibhavas,sthayi-bhavas,sancari-bhavas,
My excuses for the lengthy post.
Radhapada - Fri, 03 May 2002 23:16:41 +0530
Thanks for shedding light on the subject.