Rasa Tattva

Question: I wanted to ask you how your sect understands Brs. 2.5.128, as different Gaudiya sects hold rather different understandings of it. I will cite three different understandings, and, if you have the time and interest, I would appreciate knowing your parivara’s take on it.

1. The verse refers to a general notion of suhrt-rati that can apply to any devotee who loves another devotee more, less, or equally with Krsna. It belongs in the section on sancari-bhavas. Jiva Goswami’s example in his tika of Lalita is just that, an example of to illustrate the principle in this case for srngara rasa. At the same time the second half of the verse can be construed to be speaking of the manjari’s love for Radha in particular but it also applies in a general way to devotees who may love someone dear to Krsna more than Krsna.

2. The verse strictly deals with the sancari bhava for a friend, which is equal to or less than love for Sri Krsna. Thus the manjaris are precluded from the outset as the subjects of this verse. It is inconsistent to the suddenly change the subject of the verse from the aforementioned sancari bhava which is equal or less, to a completely different kind of suhrd-rati, alledgedly that of the manjaris, which is permanently higher than their krsna-rati.

Devotees commonly attempt to separate this verse into a description of different asrayas of the sancari-bhava, as if the first two lines refer to parama-prestha sakhis, but somehow the second two lines refer to the manjaris. This is a terribly tortured interpretation, which does not in any way correlate with any original sources. The verse refers to one asraya whose sancari bhava of suhrd-rati oscillates in accordance with the lila between being in its regular state and a state of hyper-sensitivity called bhavollasa.

“When the rati of a friend (according to Srila Jiva Gosvami, such as Lalita) for a friend (according to SJG, such as Radha) is equal or less than rati for Sri Krsna, it will be a sancari bhava, but IF THAT (SAME) SUHRD-RATI BECOMES MORE (than krsna-rati) while being nourished, it is called bhavollasa.”

References to UN 13.1 and 13.104 are cited as support.

3. The verse refers to the sakhis who have equal or less love for Radha than they do for Krsna. This love is sancari-bhava. But the second half refers to manjari-bhava and calls this bhavollasa, which is an extraordinary sancari that does not come and go but rather exceedingly nourishes the manjari’s love for Radha.

Again, I understand you may not have time or interest in this query, but again, if you do, I would appreciate knowing how your lineage understands it. Otherwise I hope my intrusion here has not been a disturbance.

Answer: We accept the first of the three explanations given above.

Question: Thank you for that. I tend to agree, but the words “evam madhurakhye rase” in the tikas seem to speak of bhavollasa occurring only in the case of madhurya. And does not bhavollasa as a an appositional noun modify rati—bhavollasa-rati—lending room for others to see it as a sthayi-bhava?

Answer: This is just an example. It does not say that it is exclusive. However it is a fact that it is seen primarily in madhurya rasa. Example is given of something which is known.

To call it as bhavollasa rati does not make it a sthayi bhava because the verse is specifically talking about one who has sthayi bhava for Krsna. Even if it is considered as a sthayi bhava it is not independent of the sthayi bhava to Krsna. It can not survive without that.

Question: Yes, I agree with you.

Others have cited UN 13.104 and VCT’s tika to say BRS 2.5.128 speaks only of nayikas and bhavollasa is not for any other devotees. They also claim that the manjari’s love is a sancari-bhava for Krsna and a shtayi-bhava for Radha, which I have very strongly disagreed with.

Answer: I am no expert on rasa-tattva. I usually avoid questions on this topic because people in general have no idea about rasa. They use the word with – I do not know in which sense, and thus I avoid such discussions.