What is Raganuga Bhakti ?
In course of everyday interactions within this remarkable world, the conditioned living entity grows a strong love and affection towards material objects. The soul is deceived with material obsessions as his eyes restlessly cross over from one alluring object to another. The endless material infatuations of this world hold him captive forever. However, when this same love is dovetailed towards Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Lord becomes the sole objective of his life, then this love assumes the form of ‘Raga Bhakti’. Srila Rupa Goswami defines ‘Raga’ in ‘Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu’ as follows :
Iste svarasiki rajah
Tan mayi ya behaved bhakti
(Bhakti rasamrita sindhu – 1.2.272)
Raga is complete absorption in one’s most worshipable object, tempered with emotions that are in accordance with one’s innate mood (sva-rasiki) of transcendental love. When devotion to Sri Krishna is fully complemented by such Raga, it is described as Ragatmika bhakti.
virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi-janadishu
ragatmikam anusrita ya sa raganugocyate
( Bhakti rasamrita sindhu 1.2.270)
The devotion possessed by the eternal associates of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana is known as the devotion filled with loving attachment (ragatmika-bhakti). While the devotion following in the wake of this ragatmika bhakti is called raganuga-bhakti.
To be concise, the unquenchable thirst to love Sri Krishna falls within the purview of ‘Raga’. The eternal associates of Krishna in Vrindavana (the supreme transcendental abode) are forever immersed in various spiritual mellows that are full of ‘Raga’ (spontaneous divine love). The devotion possessed by these eternal associates of the Supreme Lord is classified as ‘Ragatmika’. While the devotion of those who are keen to attain the bhava (ecstatic emotions) possessed by these residents of Vrindavana, is classified as ‘Raganuga’. ‘Raganuga’ bhakti hence takes shelter of and follows the footsteps of the ‘Raga’ and ‘bhava’ (spiritual emotions) of the ‘Ragatmika’ devotee.