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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.

The awakening of anubhavas - In the stage of sadhana

Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:39:48 +0530
Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a fellow devotee concerning the matter of anubhAvas, applied in particular in the context of sAdhana-bhakti. It came up as a follow-up to this letter of mine.

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You write: "Maybe I have misunderstood something in my study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, but what sadhaka will legitimately experience proper spiritual anubhavas?"

How will you possibly "legitimize" spiritual anubhAvas? Will you take them to Mathura court and judge their properness?

As you undoubtedly know, the five ingredients of rasa bundle together as prema is attained, producing the experience of rasa. Prior to that, they exist as individual constituents in varying possible combinations. Take for example sthayI-bhAva, understood as the five primary ratis. Is it so that there is absolutely no experience of sthayI-bhAva before the attainment of bhAva-bhakti?

When you feel an inclination towards a certain mood and eventually become fixed in your determination to attain that very mood, is that not a ray from the sun of sthayI-bhAva? Is that not a sprout from the seed of devotion planted into your heart by the merciful Sri Guru? Is that not the very same creeper of devotion that grows those tasty fruits of prema? Does that creeper wait until the sAdhaka crosses the "line" at which bhAva-bhakti begins, then all of a sudden casting forth fruits out of the blue? Do the fruits not grow gradually, in proportion to the growth of our devotion?

In the mind, you may feel greatly jubilant upon receiving a vision of your desired services, you may feel shivers running down your spine, eyes wet in joy. Does one not sometimes feel joy so much that he wishes to jump up and dance? Does the breath not become heavy in response to a touching vision? Do smiles and laughter not arise in meditations? Such responses do not arise from concoctions.

That aside, you'll be pleased to know that the word anubhAva has also a more general application outside the thirteen anubhAvas included in the rasa-samAgri (five ingredients of rasa). Translated, it means "sign or indication of a feeling". You may think of them as various responses to meditations and services rendered, responses that may appear both in the body and in the mind.

With regards to understanding the context of anubhAvas outside the thirteen, you may for example study Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.3.25-26 to read of the anubhAvas arising with the first sprouts of bhAva. This is the verse beginning kSantir avyartha-kAlatvam. You'll note that they are mentioned in the chapter discussing bhAva-bhakti. Are these qualities exclusive to the domain of bhAva, or do they already arise prior to that in some capacity?

You may also have read of sattvAbhAsa-bhAva, second among the four kinds of sattvikAbhAsa, in the course of your studies of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. (You'll find that featured in 2.3.) Even reflections of sattvika-bhAvas may arise prior to the attainment of concrete sthayI-bhAva.

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Madhava - Fri, 22 Apr 2005 22:08:41 +0530
The anubhAvas mentioned in the bhAva-bhakti-laharI of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu read as follows:

kSAntir avyartha-kAlatvaM viraktir mAna-zUnyatA
AzA-bandhaH samutkaNThA nAma-gAne sadA ruciH |
Asaktis tad-guNAkhyAne prItis tad-vasati-sthale
ity Adayo’nubhAvAH syur jAta-bhAvAGkure jane || BRS 1.3.25-26

The activities of one in whom the of bhava has sprouted are the following: forbearance, not wasting even a moment in anything unrelated to Krishna, detachment from worldly enjoyments, pridelessness, firm hope, eagerness, constant taste for the Holy Name, attachment to the descriptions of the Lord’s qualities, and affection for the places where the Lord resides.

Reviewing these should prove to be interesting, don't you think? smile.gif

Commenting on Madhurya-kadambini (7.3), Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja writes:

When one’s heart remains unagitated though there are causes for agitation, that state is known as kSAnti, forbearance. Spending all one’s time absorbed in devotional practices aloof from material affairs is known as avyartha-kAlatva. Natural distaste for sense objects such as material form, taste, smell, touch and sound is known as virakti. When one is prideless in spite of one’s factual superiority, that is called mAna-zUnyatA. The unbreakable expectation of attaining the Lord is called AzA-bandha. The ardent desire for attaining the supreme object of one’s desire is known as samutkaNThA. A constant thirst for chanting the Holy Name is known as nAma-gAne sadA ruciH. One’s natural attachment to describing the Lord’s sweet qualities, pastimes and so on is called Asaktis tad-gunAkhyAne. Desire to reside in the places of the Lord’s pastimes such as Vrindavan is called prItis tad-vasati-sthale. When the mere sprout of bhagavad-rati has arisen these symptoms can be seen in a sadhaka. Although the other symptoms of bhava such as shedding tears, standing of bodily hairs, and so on may be seen in a devotee, one should only presume that he is on the rati stage if these nine special symptoms are present.
Lancer - Sun, 24 Apr 2005 05:49:47 +0530
The other night, at my local temple's Bhagavad-gItA study group, we were reading 11:8-12 and the discussion turned to humility as one of the factors of jJAna. I made my usual joke about previously being proud of my own humility, but Babaji has added something to my understanding that seems to hit the nail on the head:

QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 22 2005, 09:38 AM)
When one is prideless in spite of one’s factual superiority, that is called mAna-zUnyatA.

There have been occasions in the past that I thought I felt some small degree of humility, but now I realize that wasn't humility at all -- maybe someday I'll be "factually superior" and I'll have the opportunity to test my attainment by seeing whether or not I remain humble, but for now I need to recognize that any pride I have is nothing but hubris, and any "humility" I feel is not some wonderful virtue but only the slow dawning of my own unworthiness.