Radha Krishna Sanatan Dharma Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Madhurya Rasa – Mellow of Conjugal Love

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Madhurya Rasa falls within the purview of Krishna Bhajan and constitutes the highest grade of divine Love. It is where a devotee approaches God as His consort. This is unlike the so-called love of this material world where one primarily concerns himself with his/her sensuous pleasures. The distance between the servant and the Lord which was distinctly visible in the cases of Shanta and Dasya Rasas, and indistinctly visible in the case of Sakhya and Vatsalya Rasas, is now completely absent in Madhurya. The servant and the Lord are now united as never before. The servant serves her lord with everything. She lives for her Lord and dies for Him. There is nothing that she cannot do to make Him happy. His pain and grief become her own. Now, the servant cannot enjoy anything which does not make her Lord happy. She takes pleasure in putting on an ornament if it pleases her Lord. She even gladly welcomes death if it is a service unto Him. Such is the selflessness of love manifested in Madhurya. Srimati Radharani and the other Gopis of Vrindavana represent devotees in this category.

Madhurya rasa is also specified as ‘Mukya bhakti rasa’ or the principal of all devotional mellows. Unless one is devoid of all material attachments, one cannot relish the divine mellow of ‘Madhurya’. Madhurya rasa is most esoteric and rare. Hence, it is kept largely confidential. Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya, and Madhurya exist eternally in Goloka Vrindavan. They are compared to Copper, bell metal, Silver, Gold, and touchstone respectively.


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Radha Krishna Sanatan Dharma Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Vatsalya Rasa – Parental Affection

krishna yashoda rasa vrindavan

Vatsalya Rasa falls within the purview of Krishna bhajan. In this stage, Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is worshiped as one’s own son. The Lord now receives parental love and care from the concerned devotee. The Supreme Lord, now a restless playful child, demands constant care and attention from His parents who must now be tending to His wants. They should feed Him, dress Him, administer Him medicines when ill, put Him to sleep, and then watch Him over when asleep. The mind of devotees in Vatsalya Rasa is wholly occupied with thoughts for their beloved Lord whom they perceive as their dear child. They apprehend danger for Him where there is none and think of Him to be lost when He goes out of their sight even for a moment. They rebuke the Lord and threaten Him when they find Him doing anything wrong. They take Him onto their lap and caress Him lest their child becomes too frightened. Hence these devotees in this Rasa claim a superior position to the Lord Himself. The services of Nanda Maharaj and mother Yashoda fall within this category.

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Sakhya rasa – friendship | Types of Krishna’s sakhas (friends)

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Sakhya Rasa is the stage of divine Love where a devotee approaches the Supreme Lord as His friend. Sri Krishna, His friends, and confidants are known as ‘Sakhas’ (friends). The two-handed form of Sri Krishna, playing upon His flute, is the object of meditation in Sakhya rasa. Unlike Dasya rasa, the emotions of awe and reverence are largely missing in Sakhya rasa. Srila Rupa Goswami explains in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (Western division) –

Vimukta sambhrama ya svad visrambhatma ratir dvayoh
Prayah samanayor atra sa sakhyam sthayi sabda bhak

‘Visrambha’, the affectionate exchange between two equals that is devoid of reverence and deference but is full of love, trust, and confidence is called ‘sakhya rasa’, the mellow of friendship. Thus, this emotion is the ‘sthayi bhava’ (foundational mood) of this mellow.

Srila Rupa Goswami further explains the meaning of the word ‘visrambha’. It is the admission of complete equality between two individuals, reflecting absolute trust and confidentiality between the two.

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Dasya Rasa – Servitorship

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A devotee in Dasya Rasa approaches the Supreme Lord as His servant. He prostrates himself before Him, appreciates His greatness, and is always ready to carry out His instructions with a degree of affection. Affinity towards God manifests itself in the form of affection in Dasya rasa. The beginning of affection marks ‘dasya rasa’. Garuda and Hanuman’s worship falls within this category. This Rasa also falls within the purview of Narayana pujan (worship of Lord Narayana). While in ‘Shanta Rasa’ there exists no active service, in ‘dasya rasa’ active service of the devotee is preeminent. Thus ‘Dasya rasa’ is a more evolved stage than ‘Santa rasa’. On the dasya rati platform a devotee is attached to rendering service to the Supreme Lord, and he is detached from material activities.

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Shanta Rasa – Mellow of Neutrality

krishna radha gopis yamuna shanta rasa

Shanta rasa is the mellow of divine love (Rasa) that falls within the purview of Narayana pujan (worship of Lord Narayana). This is a neutral state in which the devotee neither feels any fondness for his worshipable Lord Narayana nor does he have any attachment towards the world. He offers the Lord his love in a manner sanctioned by the scriptures. The indifference of the servant towards his Lord is the chief characteristic of this stage. Shanta rasa is the neutral stage where there exists attachment for Krishna in the mood of awe and veneration; there is complete detachment from all material desires; nonetheless, in Shanta rasa, there is also a lack of intimacy between the devotee and the Supreme Lord. 

The bliss that is experienced in Brahman realization (brahmananda) by the impersonalists, or the pleasure of realizing the self (atmananda), experienced by the yogis steeped in meditation upon the inner self, is nothing compared to the delight felt in realizing the Supreme Lord. The beautiful form of the Supreme Lord is the source of all spiritual bliss. Devotees like Bilvamangala Thakura, Sukadeva Goswami, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had attained nirvishesa brahma (impersonal brahman) through their pursuits of Jnana (speculative knowledge) but had rejected brahmananda (bliss in impersonal brahman realization) in favor of bhakti-rasananda, the nectarean divine bliss of devotion.

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Rasa Tattva, Asta Sattvika vikara & Anubhava

krishna yashoda rasa vrindavan

Rasa, or divine mellows, is remarkable and the most esoteric truth. It is the culmination of the transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When devotion unto Krishna reaches the peak of purity and grows dynamically active, it transforms into ‘Krishna Bhakti Rasa’, the mellows of devotion towards Krishna. 

Unless a devotee attains pure devotion and reaches the stage of a ‘sadhaka’, he is not qualified to experience ‘rasa’. A ‘sadhaka’ is a devotee who has attained attraction for Krishna but might not be completely free from all anarthas (material impurities). A neophyte devotee, however, who engages in deity worship in the temple but behaves improperly with others, is not qualified to relish rasa (divine mellows).

‘Siddhas’ are those devotees whose activities revolve solely around Sri Krishna and who always crave to relish Krishna bhakti rasa. They have attained perfection in their devotional lives either through sadhana (devotional practice), Kripa (mercy of exalted souls or God), or else they are eternally perfected souls (Nitya Siddha).

Krishna is the root cause of divine love whereas Krishna’s personal traits and paraphernalia act as ‘uddipana’ or that which evokes ecstatic love for Him. ‘Uddipana’ helps stimulate the devotee’s latent love for Krishna, which in course of time manifests itself as ‘rasa’.

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