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Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.

What is bhava-bhakti? -

Jagat - Mon, 24 Nov 2003 19:43:38 +0530
What is meant by bhava bhakti? This is one of those areas where Bhaktivedanta Swami's translations and explanations are insufficient.

The word bhava has so many different meanings that the specific intention here is in doubt. Since the BRS verses emphasize the ecstatic nature of bhava-bhakti (sAttvikAH svalpa-mAtrAH syuH), the tendency in Iskcon has been to translate it as "ecstatic love."

The primary part of Rupa's definition is also somewhat misleading because it simply states that bhAva is the dawning of prema.

I think that we need to identify bhava-bhakti as the firm establishment of the sthayi-bhava. Bhava is often identified as a synonym for rati, or sthayi-bhava. I think that this is what Bhaktivinoda would call svarupa siddhi.

All bhakti has some form of sthayi-bhava operative, otherwise one would feel nothing. Mostly we are in some kind of dasya relationship. There are three such preliminary stages of sthayi-bhava (zuddha) described in BRS 2.5--sAmAnya, svaccha and zama. Of these three, svaccha is the one that is relevant as the first is about a young gopi before coming of age in Vrindavan and the third is about someone headed for shanta rasa. Svaccha means basically that one likes Krishna but hasn't decided what one wants to be.

More later. I have to leave for the moment.
Madhava - Mon, 24 Nov 2003 20:01:07 +0530
Visvanatha gives bhava-bhakti a fairly elaborate treatment in his Madhurya-kadambini. Here is a relevant passage from the seventh chapter:

buddhir apatantam evArtha avadhArayantI jAgrat-svapna-suSuptiSu tadIya-smRti-vartmany eva pAnthatvam adhyavasyet | ahantA ca prApsyamAne sevopayogini siddha-dehe pravizantIva sAdhaka-zarIraM prAyo jahAtIva virAjeta | mamatA ca tac-caraNAravinda-makaranda eva madhukarIbhavitum upakrameteti | sa ca bhaktaH prAptaM mahA-ratnaM kRpaNa iva janebhyo bhAvaM gopayann api kSAnti-vairAgyAdInAm AspadIbhavan lasal-lalATam evAntardhanaM kathayatIti nyAyena tad-vijJa-sAdhu-goSThyAM vidito bhaved anyatra tu vikSipta ity unmatta iti sajjata iti durlakSyatAM gacchet

"His intelligence then unfailingly has this single purpose. The Lord remains on the path of his memory whether he sleeps, dreams or is awake. Then his self-conceit (ahanta, “I”) enters a perfected body (siddha-deha) suitable for his desired service to the Lord and is as if almost leaving the present sadhaka-body. His sense of possessiveness (mamata, “mine”) becomes like a bee ready to relish the nectar of the Lord’s lotus feet. In this stage, the devotee tries to conceal his mood (bhava) like a miserly person hiding a precious jewel. There is a logic that a bright face tells of hidden wealth. So too, because he has such qualities as patience and renunciation, he is recognized by the realized devotees. But the common people are baffled by his activities, and think he just has a disturbed mind."

sa ca bhAvo rAga-bhakty-uttho vaidha-bhakty-uttha iti dvividhaH | Adyo jAti-pramANAbhyAm Adhikyena mahima-jJAnAnAdareNa bhagavati sAmAnyAdhikyAc ca sAndraH | dvitIyaH tAbhyAM prathamataH kiJcin nyUnatvena aizvarya-jJAna-viddha-mamatAvattvAc cAsAndraH | prAyo dvividha evAyaM bhAvo dvividhAnAM bhaktAnAM dvividha-cid-vAsanA-sanAtheSu hRdayeSu sphuran dvividhAsvAdyatvaM bhajate | ghana-rasa iva rasAla-panasekSu drAkSAdiSu praviSTaH pRthak pRthaG mAdhuryavattvaM bhajate | te ca bhaktAH zAnta-dAsa-sakhi-pitR-preyasI-bhAvavantaH paJcavidhAH syuH | tatra zAnteSu zAntir iti dAseSu prItir iti sakhiSu sakhyam iti pitR-bhAvavatsu vAtsalyam iti preyasI-bhAvavatsu priyateti nAmatedam api |

"This bhava is of two types: bhava arising from raga-bhakti and bhava arising from vaidhi-bhakti. The first one is very intense due to its greater quality and quantity. Knowledge of the Lord’s power and majesty is absent in devotees having the first type of bhava. They think themselves to be equal or superior to the Lord. The second type of bhava is not so intense due to its lesser quality and quantity. Devotees having this rati have affection to the Lord mixed with the knowledge of His power and majesty as the almighty Lord. These two types of bhava are relished in two different ways by the two types of devotees having two different transcendental desires. As the juice of mango, jackfruit, sugarcane, and grapes differ in density, so the sweetness differs in different bhavas. The devotees relishing different moods are of five types: santa (neutral), dasya (servants), sakhya (friends) vatsalya (parents), and madhurya (amorous lovers). The names of the ratis thus differ in them: santa-bhaktas have santi-rati (neutral mood), dasya-bhaktas have priti-rati (affectionately serving mood), sakhya-bhaktas have sakhya-rati (fraternal love), fathers and mothers have vatsalya-rati (parental love) and preyasi-bhava-bhaktas have priyata-rati (amorous love)."
Jagat - Tue, 25 Nov 2003 03:44:52 +0530
These are my notes from the Harinama-cintamani glossary:

bhäva—(1) state, condition; (2) emotion, feeling, mood; (3) the first level of spiritual perfection, at which stage one’s relation with Krishna is firmly established (bhäva-bhakti); (4) the different attitudes in relation with Krishna (sthäyi-bhävas, q.v.) as well as some of the other ingredients in the makeup of rasa (vyabhicäri-bhävas, sättvika-bhävas, q.v.) (HNC 15.28); (5) the aspects of the siddha deha (ekädaça-bhäva, q.v.). (6) “thought” = bhävanä.

The word bhäva derives from the verb “to be or become”; its basic meaning is thus “state.” Since this can be a state of being or a state of emotions, the word can also be translated as “feeling” or “emotion.” This is the usual understanding when we talk about reaching the spiritual level called bhäva (BRS 1.3.1), at which stage one is said to first experience involuntary ecstatic symptoms (sättvikas). Thus some translate bhäva as ecstasy. However, when Bhaktivinoda Thakur speaks about bhäva-märga (q.v.) or bhäväpana-dazä or bhäva-sädhanä, or nija-bhäva (“one’s own bhäva”), he is refering to the eternal spiritual identity. Nevertheless, there is a clear connection between these two: The stage of bhäva is clearly identified with rati by Rupa Goswami (BRS 1.3.10). Thus, attaining one’s spiritual identity in svarüpa-siddhi (i.e., äpana-dazä) is simultaneously bhäva. As such, bhäva-sädhanä means the specific cultivation of one’s spiritual identity.

bhäva-märga—“the path of cultivating one’s spiritual identity” (Others have translated as “the path of ecstasy, or ecstatic love”). In Chaitanya-sikshamrita (p.314), Bhaktivinoda also uses the term bhävanä-märga, “the path of contemplation” where he defines bhävanä as siddha-deha-bhävanä: “While still in this body, the practitioner serves in Krishna’s daily pastimes in his mind and, upon arriving at the point of svarüpa-siddhi, identifies completely with this spiritual identity.” He then goes on to explain how to think of that body. Synonym, bhäva-sädhanä, “cultivating the spiritual identity.”

bhäväpana-dazä—"The stage of appropriation." The stage in bhäva-sädhana where one makes the spiritual identity one’s own. Also called äpana-dazä and svarüpa-siddhi. From Jaiva Dharma (602): “First chant the Holy Name with enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of ownership to this enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of intimacy to this sense of ownership. Then, as your attitude becomes purified, you will come to the stage where you fully appropriate the eleven aspects of your spiritual identity, or bhäväpana-dazä. Throughout the stage of remembering (smarana-dazä), one has only superimposed the spiritual identity on himself. At the stage of appropriation, however, pure identification with the spiritual body is attained.”

I think it is fairly clear from this last statement that there is a difference between smarana-dazä and bhäväpana-dazä.