Devotional Services


(English version of the ‘Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu’ by Sri Rupa Goswami)

Edited by Tridandi Goswami Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami


Akhilla, Rasa, Amrita, Murti, Prasrmara, Ruci, Ruddha, Taraka, Pali, Kalita, Syama, Lalita, Radha, Preyan, Bidhu, Jayati.

Akhila=All inclusive, Rasa=Mellow, Zest, Amrita=Nectar, Murti=Form, Prasrmara=Expanding, Ruchi=Attractive features, Ruddha=Controlling, Taraka=of the name, Pali=of the name, Kalita=Influenced by, Syama=of the name, Lalita=of the name, Radha=Shrimati Radharani, Preyan=Dearest, Bidhu=Consort, Jayati=Exists with glories.


Lord (Shri Krishna) Who is the dearest consort of Shrimati Radharani—exists eternally with all glories. He is all inclusive Personality Mellow transcendental in His eternal Form. By the expansion of his multi attractive features He is the controlling deity of the cowherd damsels like Taraka, Pali with influence over Syama and Lalita.


Lord Shri Krishna Who is the Personality of Godhead in His eternal Form is glorified because He has endeared Himself by His acts of benevolence in disseminating the different kinds of Rasa or Zests. Rasa is psychologically described as a sense perception. But the sense perception which we experience in our material conception of life,-is a perverted reflection of the reality. The reality is approached by self realisation of understanding the all inclusive Personal Form of the Supreme Who is all attractive Shri Krishna. The very name of Shri Krishna is suggestive of a conception of complete attraction by dint of wealth, strength, influence, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Complete embodiment of all these opulences combined together in their fullness is exhibited by the manifested activities of the Lord when He is, out of His causeless mercy, within our view, although the Supreme Person is transcendental to the speculative actions of thinking, feeling and willing of a living being.

The eternal consort of Shrimati Radharani is Lord Shri Krishna Who is plenarily manifested as the speaker of the Bhagwat Geeta,—has His innumerable beams of expansions and each and every one of them is complete Bidhu or the one who vanquishes all kinds of distresses of the devotee. Even the Ashuras or the atheists who are enemies of the Lord are benefitted by His causeless mercy although superficially they appear to be slain by the Lord. Ashuras who are killed by the Lord do also attain to the platform of Mukti or liberation which is the destination of the impersonalist empiric philosophers. As such He is all attractive both for the Ashuras or the non-devotees materialistic living being and the Suras or the devotees. He is glorified evidently both by Suras and Asuras alike. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra Lord Shri Krishna was glorified even by the opposite camp of Arjuna when Bhisma addressed Lord Shri Krishna to be the relative of Arjuna the victorious warrior. And those who died in the battlefield of Kurukshetra attained the highest stage of liberation simply by fixing up their eyes over Him while dying in the field.

By His fullness of opulences and on account of His becoming the One without a Second competitor and His being the Lord of all creatures, He is worshipped even by the Supreme directors of the cosmic creations. He is attractive even by His personal decorative features. Lord Shri Krishna is observed always decorated with multi ornaments of apt position. His earrings, His crown, His bangles, His necklace, and belt etc. bedecked with most valuable jewels and His attractive smiling face smeared with the pulp of sandalwood on the forehead and His yellowish silken garments all combined together make His full attractive Personality. The whole ‘Bhagbatam Puranam’ is practically a vivid description of His fullness of attraction and in the beginning of the same the Lord Shri Krishna is discriminated from all other plenary manifestations or incarnations with emphasis on His becoming the Original Form of Godhead and the Personality of Godhead as He is. And considering all these features of His Person and transcendental qualities as described in all the Vedic revealed scriptures, Lord Shri Krishna is undoubtedly the all attractive eternal Form of all Rasas.

In the present context of His transcendental features He is the Predominating Lord of the primary Rasas called Santa (transcendental inaction) Dasya (transcendental servitorship) Sakhya (transcendental fraternity) Vatsalya (transcendental conjugation). In His transcendental Form in relation with the denizens of the Brajabhumi, He is the embodiment of spiritual bliss. The spiritual bliss is described in the Brahma Sutras also.

So for other Rasas which are secondary and individually connected with Him He is very properly described in the Bhagabatam on the arena of the King Kansa of Mathura. He is described there as follows:—

Mallanam asani (thunderbolt for the wrestlers) Naranam Narabara (for ordinary man, He is the most perfect form of man) Strinam smara murtiman (for the woman He appeared to be personified Cupid or the most desired of the opposite sex) Gopnam swajana (for the cowherdsmen He appeared to be the most beloved kinsman) Asatam khitibhujam sasta (for the culprit minded rulers He appeared to be the most redundant governor) and Swapitro sisu (for the parents He appeared to be a small child) Mrtyo Bhojapate (He appeared to be death personified before the king of Bhoja or Kansa) Virata avidusham (He identified Himself with the all pervading universal self for the less intelligent persons) Tatwam param yoginam (He appeared to the mystics to be the Absolute Truth) Vrishninam paradeva (for the Vaishnavas or to the descendants of Vishnu He appeared to be the highest worshipable deity). And thus known to the respective knowers according to their respective power of knowing Him, the Lord Shri Krishna entered the arena of King Kansa accompanied by His elder brother Shri Valadeva.

In the revealed scriptures the Rasas are described to be of twelve different sets. They are as follows:—

1. Roudra (anger) 2. Adbhuta (wonderful) 3. Sringara (conjugal) 4. Hasya (comic) 5. Vira (chivalrous) 6. Daya (merciful) 7. Dasya (servitorship) 8. Sakhya (fraternity) 9. Bhayanaka (ghastly) 10. Vitbhatsa (shocking) 11. Shanta (neutral) 12. Vatsalya (parental). Sringara and the Madhurya Rasa are one and the same. These twelve Rasas are standard Rasas and Lord Sri Krishna is evidently the embodiment of all these Rasas. He is not only the enjoyer of the Madhurya Rasa or the Sringara Rasa with Srimati Radharani but He is the enjoyer of the Vivatsya Rasa when He kills Ashuras like Kansa and Jarandha. In the creation of the Lord, there is nothing more than the above mentioned standard twelve Rasas in the matter of dealing with one another. Activities of the living being are accelerated by one of the Rasas either in its original form or in a perverted form. But all the Rasas are emanation from the Transcendence. There is no existence of any sort of reciprocation of Rasa if it is not emanated from the Supreme. Everything that be has its original source of emanation from the Supreme Being and that is the confirmation by the first sutra of the Vedanta Sutras (Janmadyasya yatah). And Sri Krishna being the original form of Godhead He is conclusively the reservoir Fountain Head of all the Rasas described above. And as such the Rasa in relation with Him become the absolute in nature. The Lord being the Absolute Truth any one of the above Rasas is Absolute in nature in relation of reciprocation with His service. The Lord being the enjoyer of all the Rasas the reciprocator is either directly or indirectly a constitutional servitor of the Lord exchanging the different Rasas. And therefore the devotees who serve the Lord directly in the primary Rasa of Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya are super servitors or eternal servitors than those who serve Him in the secondary Rasas of Roudhra, Adbhuta, Hasya etc. which are seven in all. Actual position of the living being is to serve the Lord and nothing more. The living being cannot become the Absolute Master at any stage of his existence namely materially or spiritually. Materially he can falsely pose himself as the master and being baffled in that attempt such servitor desires to annihilate his existence by becoming one with the Lord. This desire of becoming one with the Lord is not even within the jurisdiction of the Shanta Rasa and therefore except the five primary Rasas all other Rasas are exhibited outside the spiritual realm. But his oneness is transcendentally realised in the primary five Rasas because in the Absolute realm although there is constant reciprocation of the primary Rasas between the Lord and His eternal reciprocators or eternal servitors, qualitatively there is no difference between the Lord and the servitors. In the absolute realm there is no difference between Radharani and Krishna or between Yasoda and Krishna and so on. The reciprocators in the absolute realm and in the relative world are essentially and qualitatively one and the same but quantitatively there is difference between two namely the Lord and the servitors. The Lord is the immense source of supply of all the Rasas while the living entities are recipients only in their different capacity. In other words the Lord is the Whole while His Servitors are Constitutional Parts and Parcels only. The parts and parcels have therefore limited potency to enjoy and as such the parts and parcels of the Lord cannot be actually said as enjoyer in the proper sense of the term. Such reciprocators of the Rasas therefore properly termed as the enjoyed or the servitor partaker of the enjoyment enjoyed by the Lord. Although the Rasa of reciprocation is equally partaken both by the Lord and the servitors, the Lord is the Predominator enjoyer while the parts and parcels are predominated enjoyer. Real enjoyment of the living entity is realised in that way otherwise he can simply merge himself with the Lord by annihilating his constitutional position as he is emanated from the Supreme. This constitutional position of parts and parcels are predominantly existent in the Absolute Realm whereas the secondary Rasas are manifested in the relative world. When the Lord therefore desires to enjoy the secondary Rasa with His servitors such reciprocation is brought into existence in the relative world by the desire of the Lord. These secondary Rasas when they are actually dovetailed with Absolute Person the result is the same as that of other primary Rasas. Therefore the Vivatsa Rasa displayed between the Lord and Kansa also terminated in the liberation of Kansa on account of Sri Krishna’s becoming the Absolute Person.

Therefore the servitor living being, if at all he wants to relish any one of the above Rasas, he must reciprocate the same with Sri Krishna who is the unlimited ocean or source of all Rasas. One can derive any amount of Rasa of a particular type from that resources simply by such reciprocation with Krishna. “Gopal Tapani” directs therefore conclusively that Krishna is the Supreme Fountain Head of all the Rasas which are also confirmed by the Sruti or the Vedas. One should therefore always meditate upon Krishna to derive a particular type of Rasa according to one’s choice and under proper direction of the spiritual master.

Krishna appeared to Kansa as death personified because Kansa chose to kill Krishna from the beginning of His appearance. Similarly the Gopis wanted to have Krishna as the lover and therefore Krishna treated with them as the most fascinating lover displayed by the Madhurya Rasa of a transcendental paramour.

The conclusion is that the Personality of Godhead reciprocates with His servitors in the proportion and quality of service rendered unto Him. Nobody is doing anything except this reciprocation of Rasas between Krishna and himself and thus one is reaping the desired result in the proportion and quality of service illusioned in contamination with the material energy whereas such service is transcendental in the Absolute Realm where illusion is conspicuous by its absence only. The quality of service to Sri Krishna in the highest plane form is exhibited by the Gopis and such service is eulogised in the ‘Bhagavatam’ in the following words. “What is that penance which the Gopis had performed so that they are privileged to enjoy the drinking of the nectar of Lord’s beauty which is as much unfathomed as His other opulences are.”

With the Gopis therefore the highest transcendental quality of Rasa is reciprocated by the Lord and out of them the specifically mentioned Gopis of the name Taraka, Pali, Shyama, Lalita and Srimati Radharani are significant. In the Puranas the names of the Gopis like Gopali, Palika, Dhanya, Vishakha, Danistha, Radha, Anuradha, Somabha, Taraka etc. are mentioned. And in the ‘Dwarka Mahatma,’ the names of the Lalita, Shyamala, Saibya, Padma, Bhadra along with Vishakha are mentioned as the chief of the damsels of Brajabhumi. There is such mention of the names of the Gopis in “Skandha Puranam” also. Such Gopis were attracted by the beautiful and attractive features of the Form of Sri Krishna. They were not only attracted but also they were actually under the control of Lord by the paramourous feeling of the lover and the beloved. Such transcendental feelings of the pure Gopis are never to be compared with the erotic principles of the mundane world. In these transactions of highest reciprocations of Rasas Srimati Radharani stands to be the supermost partaker. She is therefore actually the counterpart emblem of all the Rasas which are reciprocated between Krishna and Radha in a specific manner unknown even to Krishna—both being equally full and perfect there is constantly an overflow of transcendental bliss which is purest form of competition of the Ahladini energy or the transcendental pleasure giving element potent in the Lord but displayed by Radharani.

In the Uttrakhanda of the Padmapuranam, such reciprocation of highest transcendental mellows is affirmed by eulogising the place called by the name Radhakunda where the Lord Krishna and Radharani exhibited Their reciprocal fullness. Radhakunda is therefore as much dear to Sri Krishna as Srimati Radharani. In Dwarka Rukmini is mentioned as the topmost queen of the Lord and similarly in Vrindaban Radharani is the topmost of the Gopis. The pastimeous functions of Vrindaban represent greater degree of Rasa reciprocation than Dwarka. As such Radharani is more conspicuous than Rukmini. She is there the all attractive counterpart of the all attractive Lord and therefore She is the highest embodiment of the Ahladini potency of the Lord. Voluntarily the Lord bifurcated Himself both as Radha and Krishna and again joined together in the still more attractive Form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In other words, the devotees of the Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are eligible candidates for approaching the Fountain Head of all Rasas. According to Sri Jiva Goswami the names of both Radha and Krishna are mentioned in the Rigveda as “Radha Madhava.” Men with poor fund of knowledge and so-called adherents of the Vedas indulge in pragmatic discussions concerning Radha and Krishna without consulting the authoritative statements of the Goswamins headed by Sri Rupa Goswami and followed by Sri Raghunath Das Goswami. Sri Narottamdas Thakur therefore recommends to the serious students of Rasa science to surrender unto the protection of the merciful Goswamins who left all material association of aristocracy and comfort and voluntarily accepted the part of a rigid mendicant to bestow upon the fallen souls like us their highest gift of benediction in the matter of love affairs of Radha and Krishna.

The transcendental science of the love affairs of Radha and Krishna is not a thing easily understandable even by the highest talented persons and materialistic opportunists. Those who therefore try to realise the affairs of Radha and Krishna in puffed up manner of materialistic scholarship will vanquish in the womb of oblivion if they are reluctant to consult the books left by the Goswamins. “Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu” on which we are attempting on an English version following the footprints of the Goswamins,—is the first of a series of books in this connection. This preliminary study in the science of devotional service is therefore cautiously done by boring the transcendental subject within the purview of a serious student.

Metaphorically Bidhu means the moon. As such the Lord is compared with the moon although He is sometimes compared with the most powerful sun. He is compared with the moon per excellence not in the sense that the moon is less powerful than the sun. On the other hand, He is not compared with the sun on account of the sun’s inability to counteract the fatigue of a tiresome man. It is the light of the moon only which is soothing to such tiresome person. We want to drink Rasa for getting ourselves relief from the tiresome effect of dry material life. Tiresome people in order to mitigate the fatigue of day’s labour try to eschew a particular type of Rasa from the more tiresome sounds of radio and other materialistic instruments of relaxation but the foolish people do not know that real Rasa is flowing under the Lotus Feet of Lord Sri Krishna. He is constantly disseminating the flow of transcendental Rasas in the soothing way of the moonlight. Therefore He is compared with the moon which has a specific cooling effect on the fatigued person. In the spring the moonlight is still more soothing. The spring moon is the sum total of all the Rasas of other seasons and thus Sri Krishna is compared with the moon delightfully displayed along with the twinkling stars of the name Taraka etc. In that metaphorical explanation the word Ruddha means covered and Pali means the range. In other words the rays of the moon has covered the twinkling light of the range of stars. This beautiful features of the moon is exhibited at night which is compared with the name of dark Shyama. In this metaphorical combination of words Lalita means pastime and Amrita is the moon light itself.

As the moonlight, stars and their reciprocal pastime all concerned in the night alone, so also Lord Sri Krishna’s pastime in the highest zest of transcendental Rasa is possible at night alone along with Srimati Radharani and Her eternal associates. In that night illuminated by the moon the stars known as Anuradha or Radha is more intimately connected with the star known by the name Vishaka. As the moon is more beautiful on the full moon night of spring, similarly the attraction of Krishna is fully displayed in the matter exchanging Rasa.


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