Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara considered their situation care fully and decided that they would spend Caturmasya in Puri and hear about all the aspects of rasa-tattva from Sri Gopala Guru.  When Vrajanatha’s grandmother heard the glories of residing in Puri during Caturmasya, she also agreed with their suggestion. From then on, they regularly went to receive darsana of Sri Jagannathadeva, morning and evening, took bath in Narendra Sarovara, and visited the important holy places in and around Puri. In addition to this, they had darsana of Sri Jagannathadeva with great devotion whenever a special service, ceremony or dressing took place. In this way, they passed their time in a very regulated and sublime manner. They expressed their innermost feelings before Sri Gopala Guru.

     When they expressed their intentions to Sri Guru Gosvami, he was delighted and said, “I have already developed such thick parental affection for you both within my heart that I think I will feel great distress when you leave. The longer you stay here, the more pleased I will be. One can easily attain a sad-guru, but it is not easy to find a sat-sisya.”

     Vrajanatha very humbly requested, “Please be so kind as to explain rasa-tattva in such a way that we can easily understand the vibhavas and other features of the various rasas.”

Gosvami: It is an exceedingly beautiful subject. Listen carefully and I will happily speak whatever Sri Gaurasundara inspires me to speak. First comes santa-rasa, in which the sthayibhava is santirati. 

     The ananda in brahmananda of the nirvisesa-vadis is extremely limited and feeble, and so is the atmananda of the yogis. The ananda of realizing Isa (isvara) is somewhat superior to these, and realization of the svarupa of isvara is the cause of much satisfaction and bliss. The support (alambana) of santa-rasa is the four-armed form of Narayana, who has qualities such as supremacy and opulence.  Santa-rati has its abode in peaceful personalities (santa-purusa), namely, those who are atmarama, and ascetics who have faith in Bhagavan.

     The four Kumaras – Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanat-kumara and Sanandana – who wander in the forms of bala-sannyasis, are prominent among those who are atmarama. At first, they were inclined towards nirvisesa-brahma, but later they became attracted to the sweetness of Bhagavan’s form, and they engaged in the worship of that murti which is the condensed embodiment of cit (transcendence).  Ascetics who enter into santa-rasa have performed appropriate renunciation (yukta-vairagya), by which they have already vanquished all obstacles and dispelled all attachment to the objects of the senses. However, they still have desire for liberation. 

     The uddipana (stimuli) of santa-rasa are as follows: hearing all the prominent Upanisads; residing in a solitary place; discussing and deliberating on tattva; establishing the predominance of the knowledge potency (vidya-sakti); honoring the universal form (visva-rupa); associating with those devoted to Sri Hari, and who also cultivate empirical knowledge and philosophical speculation (jnana-misra-bhaktas); and reflecting upon the tattva of the Upanisads in the company of equally learned persons. Further uddipanas are the fragrance of tulasi offered to Bhagavan’s lotus feet; the sound of the conch-shell; sacred mountains and forests; siddha-ksetra; the Ganga; the inclination to diminish contact with the objects of sense gratification (that is, the desire to vanquish all sinful reactions); and contemplating the conception of the alldevouring influence of time. These are the vibhavas (impetuses for tasting) of santa-rasa.

Vrajanatha: What are the visible symptoms (anubhavas) of this rasa? 

Gosvami: Some of the anubhavas of santa-rasa, which are specific (asadharana) to those who have santi-rati, are staring at the tip of the nose; behaving as an ascetic beyond all codes of social conduct (avadhuta); walking with the vision extended not more than four cubits ahead; exhibiting the jnana-mudra; holding no malice towards those who are inimical to Bhagavan; the absence of excessive affection toward the premi-bhaktas of Bhagavan; a mood of honor and reverence towards liberation and the disintegration of material existence; indifference; freedom from feelings of proprietorship and false ego (mamata); and observing silence. Yawning, contorting the limbs, instructions on bhakti, offering pranama and stava-stuti to Hari are some of the common emotions of santarasa. 

Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika transformations in santa-rasa? 

Gosvami: Almost all the sattvika-vikaras – such as the standing of romanca (the bodily hairs), sveda (perspiration), and stambha (becoming stunned) – are visible in this rasa. The only exception is pralaya (fainting and falling unconscious on the ground). However, these sattvika transformations do not extend to the stage of dipta (burning).

Vrajanatha: Which of the sancari-bhavas are evident in this rasa? 

Gosvami: The sancari-bhavas that are commonly seen in santa-rasa are: remorse and nirveda (self-disparagement), patience, jubilation, conviction or understanding, remembrance, despondency, ardent desire, absorption and excitement, and argument.

Vrajanatha: How many types of santi-rati are there? 

Gosvami: Santi-rati is the sthayibhava in santa-rasa, and it is divided into two types: equal (sama) and condensed (sandra). Sama santi-rati occurs in asamprajnata-samadhi (the stage where the practitioner has achieved trance, but the atma has not yet reached the platform of perceiving his own svarupa), wherein jubilation, trembling, and horripilation are manifest in the body due to experiencing a sphurti of Bhagavan.

     Sandra-santi-rati is the rati in which sandrananda is manifest.  This occurs in nirvikalpa-samadhi, the trance in which all the functions of the mind are arrested because of complete annihilation of avidya, wherein one directly sees Bhagavan before him. The extreme condensed bliss that arises then is called sandrananda. 

     Santa-rasa is also divided into paroksa (indirect) and saksatkara (direct). Sukadeva and Bilvamangala rejected the brahmananda derived from jnana and plunged themselves into the ocean of bhakti-rasananda. The same is true of the renowned scholar, Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.

Vrajanatha: Why has santa-rasa not been accepted in the mundane literary tradition (alankara)?

Gosvami: The reason that mundane authors have not accepted santi-rati is that in worldly affairs, variety and diversity disappear as soon as santi (peacefulness) appears. However, in transcendental dealings, the aprakrta-rasa increases progressively from the appearance of santa-rasa. Bhagavan has stated that the quality of having one’s intelligence firmly fixed in Him is called sama. Since it is impossible to fix the intelligence firmly in Bhagavan unless one has santi-rati, santa-rasa must necessarily be accepted in cit-tattva.

Vrajanatha: I have thoroughly understood santa-rasa. Now kindly explain dasya-rasa along with its vibhava and so on. 

Gosvami: Learned scholars call dasya-rasa prita-rasa’. There are two types of prita-rasa: sambhrama and gaurava. Servants in sambhrama-prita-rasa have the mood that they are fit to receive the kindness of their master, and those in gaurava-prita-rasa have the attitude of being maintained or reared by Krsna.

Vrajanatha: What is sambhrama-prita-rasa?

Gosvami: Sambhrama-priti towards Vrajendranandana Krsna arises in those who have the self-conception, “I am Krsna’s servant.” When that priti is gradually nourished more and more, it is called sambhrama-prita-rasa. Krsna and His servants are the alambana in this rasa.

Vrajanatha: What is Krsna’s svarupa in this rasa?

Gosvami: In Gokula, the alambana for sambhrama-prita-rasa is Krsna’s two-armed form. In other places, He is sometimes alambana in His two-armed form, and sometimes in His four-armed form. In Gokula, Sri Krsna is alambana in the form of that Prabhu who is dressed as a cowherd boy, whose complexion is as radiant as a fresh monsoon cloud, who holds a murali flute in his hand, whose midriff is adorned with a yellow cloth that defeats the beauty of gold, and who wears a crown of peacock feathers on His head.  In other places, He is present in a two-handed form, but He is alambana in His opulent form, carrying sankha and cakra and so forth in His hands, and wearing pearls and jeweled ornaments on all His limbs. Srila Rupa Gosvami has written in Bhakti-rasamrtasindhu (Western Division 2.3.5):

brahmanda-koti-dhamaika-roma-kupah krpambudhih

avicintya-mahasaktih sarvva-siddhi-nisevitah


avataravali-bijam sadatmarama-hrd-gunah

isvarah paramaradhyah sarvva-jnah sudrdha-vratah


samrddhiman ksama-silah saranagata-palakah

daksinah satya-vacano daksah sarvva-subhankarah


pratapi dharmikah sastra-caksur bhakta-suhrttamah

vadanyas tejasa yuktah krta-jnah kirtti-samsrayah


variyan balavan prema-vasya ity adibhir gunaih

yutas catur vidhesv esa dasesv alambhano harih


That Sri Hari Krsna, who is the embodiment of alambana for the four kinds of dasya-bhaktas, possesses the following qualities: millions of universes are situated in each and every pore of His transcendental body (koti-brahmandavigraha);

          He is the ocean of compassion (krpambudhi); He is endowed with inconceivable potency               which is beyond the understanding of the jiva’s insignificant intelligence (acintya-maha-              sakti); He is served by all types of mystic perfections (sarva-siddhi-nisevita); He is the                  origin of all avataras such as the guna-avataras, lila-avataras, and saktyavesa-avataras               (avataravali-bija): He steals the hearts of self-satisfied yogis, such as Sukadeva                            (atmarama-ganakarsi);He regulates everything (isvara); He is supremely worshipable for             all jivas and devatas (paramaradhya); He is omniscient (sarva-jna); He is firmly fixed in              His vow (sudrdha-vrata); He is opulent (samrddhiman); He is forgiving (ksama-sila); He               is the protector of the surrendered souls (saranagata-palaka); He is supremely liberal                   (daksina); His words never prove false (satya-vacana); He can perform difficult tasks with              ease (daksa); He acts for the welfare of everyone (sarva-subhankara); He is valorous                 (pratapi); He is religious (dharmika); He sees and acts in accordance with sastra (sastra-             caksu); He is the best well-wisher of His bhaktas (bhakta-suhrt); He is magnanimous                   (vadanya); His body is radiant, extremely powerful, and influential (tejasvi);He is grateful           (krtajna); He is famous (kirtiman); He is the most excellent (variyan); He is strong                         (balavan); and He is controlled by the love of His bhaktas (prema-vasya). 

Vrajanatha: Who are the four types of dasa?

Gosvami: There are four types of dasa who are alambana as the asraya of dasya-rati. They are: 1) those who have taken His full shelter, and who always keep their eyes down; 2) those who carry out the orders of Bhagavan; 3) those who are trustworthy; and 4) those who consider Krsna to be Prabhu, and are thus endowed with a humble disposition. Their tattvika names are 1) adhikrta-dasa, 2) asrita-dasa, 3) parisada-dasa and 4) anugata-dasa.

Vrajanatha: Who are examples of adhikrta-dasa?

Gosvami: The devas and devis headed by Brahma, Siva and Indra are adhikrta-dasas and dasis. They engage in Bhagavan’s service when they have attained the qualification to perform tasks related to the material universe.

Vrajanatha: Who are asrita-dasa?

Gosvami: There are three types of asrita-dasa: those who have taken refuge (saranagata); those who are jnanis attached to the path of jnana; and those who are fixed in the service of Bhagavan (sevanistha).  Kaliya-naga and the kings who had been imprisoned by Jarasandha are in the category of saranagata-dasa. The rsis headed by Saunaka are called jnana-nistha dasa, because they gave up the desire for mukti and took shelter of Sri Hari. The seva-nistha dasa are bhaktas like Candradhvaja, Harihara, Bahulasva, Iksvaku and Pundarika, who were attached to bhagavad-bhajana from the very beginning.

Vrajanatha: Who are parisada-dasa?

Gosvami: Uddhava, Daruka, Satyaki, Srutadeva, Satrujit, Nanda, Upananda, and Bhadra are in the category of parisada-dasa. Although they are engaged in activities such as giving advice, they also engage in appropriate services according to time and circumstance.  Bhisma, Pariksit, and Vidura are also parisada-bhaktas, and premi-dasa Uddhava is the best among them all.

Vrajanatha: Who are anugata-dasa?

Gosvami: Those servants whose hearts are always attached to performing seva are called anugata-dasa. They are of two types: those who reside in Vraja and those who reside in Dvaraka Puri.  Anugata-dasas in Dvaraka Puri include Sucandra, Mandala, Stambha and Sutamba. Those in Vraja include Raktaka, Patraka, Patri, Madhukantha, Madhuvrata, Rasala, Suvilasa, Premakandha, Makarandaka, Ananda, Candrahasa, Payoda, Vakula, Rasada and Sarada. Raktaka is prominent among all these anugata-dasas of Vraja.

     Parisada and anugata-dasas are further divided into three categories, namely dhurya, dhira, and vira. The dhurya-parisadas are those who display due affection towards Krsna, His beloved gopis and His servants. Dhira-parisadas are those who are not specifically engaged in Krsna’s service, but who take shelter of Krsna’s beloveds, such as Satyabhama. Vira-parisadas are those bhaktas who have taken exclusive shelter of Krsna’s mercy, and are therefore not concerned about others. These three types of krsna-dasa –asrita, parisada and anugata – are divided into three types again on the basis of nitya-siddha, siddha, and sadhaka.

Vrajanatha: Will you kindly explain the various types of uddipana in dasya-rasa?

Gosvami: The uddipanas in dasya-rasa are the sound of the murali and srnga (buffalo horn); Krsna’s smiling glance; hearing His qualities; a lotus flower; Krsna’s footprints; a fresh monsoon cloud; and the fragrance of Krsna’s limbs.

Vrajanatha: What are the anubhavas in this rasa?

Gosvami: The anubhavas that are specific (asadharana) to dasyarasa include being fully engaged in one’s prescribed duties, obeying the orders of Bhagavan, remaining free from envy and malice in the service of Bhagavan, friendship with Krsna’s servants, and firm faith in Krsna. The expressions (udbhasvaras) that are common (sadharana-anubhavas) to other rasas include dancing, showing respect toward Krsna’s near and dear ones, and detachment from all else.

Vrajanatha: What types of sattvika-vikara are present in prita-rasa?

Gosvami: All the sattvika-bhavas such as stambha manifest in this rasa.

Vrajanatha: What types of vyabhicari-bhavas occur in this rasa?

Gosvami: Twenty-four vyabhicari-bhavas are present in this rasa.They are jubilation, pride, fortitude, self-disparagement, depression, humility, anxiety, remembrance, apprehension, resolve, ardent desire, argumentation, deliberation, agitation, bashfulness, inertness, bewilderment, madness, concealing emotions, awakening, dreaming, fatigue, disease and yearning for death. There is no distinct appearance of intoxication, exhaustion, fear, fainting and falling on the ground, laziness, fury, intolerance, envy and sleep.  The bhavas of jubilation, pride and fortitude are exhibited in meeting (milana), and the bhavas of debility, disease and death are exhibited in separation. The other eighteen bhavas, such as self-disparagement, are visible both in meeting and separation.

Vrajanatha: I would like to know about the sthayibhava of prita-rasa. 

Gosvami: The sthayibhava of this rasa is the priti that results from combining an attitude of respect towards Krsna with a trembling of the heart evoked by awe, and the conception that He is one’s master.

     In santa-rasa, the sthayibhava is rati alone, whereas in this rasa, sthayibhava occurs when rati has the mood of mamata (possessiveness) and becomes priti. As this sambhrama-priti gradually increases, it extends through the stages of prema and sneha up to the stage of raga. When sambhrama-priti is free from apprehension and fear, it assumes the form of prema. When a condensed form of prema gives rise to a melting of the heart, then it is known by the name of sneha, the stage in which the bhakta cannot tolerate even a moment’s separation. Sneha becomes raga when it has developed to the point where even distress seems to be happiness. In such a condition, there is a desire to give up one’s life at the time of separation from Krsna. Those who are in the categories of adhikrta and asrita-dasa can reach the stage of prema, but not further than that. Parisadas can reach the level of sneha. Sthayibhava develops up to the limit of raga in Pariksit, Daruka, Uddhava and the anugata-dasas of Vraja.  When raga arises, there is a partial appearance of sakhya-bhava. Panditas call meeting with Krsna in this rasa “yoga”, and separation from Krsna “ayoga.” There are two types of ayoga – anxious longing (utkanthita) and separation (viyoga) and three types of yoga siddhi (perfection), tusti (satisfaction), and sthiti (residence). Siddhi is seeing Krsna after being in the condition of anxious longing, and tusti means meeting with Krsna after separation (viyoga).  Sthiti means to live with Krsna.

Vrajanatha: I have understood sambhrama-priti. Now please explain gaurava-priti.

Gosvami: Gaurava-mayi-priti is the mood of those who have the abhimana, “Krsna should take care of me – nourishing and maintaining me.” When this priti is nourished by the corresponding vibhavas, anubhavas and so on, it is called gaurava-prita-rasa.  Bhagavan Sri Krsna, His wards and dependent servants are the alambana of this rasa. The visaya-alambana in gaurava-priti is Krsna in the form of the great guru; the possessor of immense fame, intelligence and strength; the protector; and the maintainer. Krsna’s wards (lalya-bhaktas) are divided into two categories: juniors and sons. Sarana, Gada and Subhadra consider themselves juniors, while personalities such as Pradyumna, Carudesna and Samba have the abhimana of being sons. The uddipana of this rasa are Sri Krsna’s parental affection and gentle smiling. Examples of anubhavas are sitting on a lower seat in Krsna’s presence, following the directives of one’s worshipful superiors, and giving up independent activities. You should know that the sancari or vyabhicari-bhavas are the same as I have mentioned before in regard to sambhrama-prita-rasa.

Vrajanatha: What does the word gaurava mean?

Gosvami: Gaurava refers to the relationship with Krsna based on the conception, “Krsna is my father by bodily relationship,” or “Krsna is my guru.” Gaurava-priti is affection with full absorption towards Krsna with the sentiment that He is nourishing and maintaining one. This is the sthayibhava of this rasa.

Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I have understood prita-rasa. Now please describe

preyo-bhakti-rasa (sakhya-rasa).

Gosvami: In this rasa, the alambana is Krsna and His friends; the two-handed form of Vrajendranandana Sri Krsna holding a murali is visaya-alambana, and His friends are asraya-alambana. 

Vrajanatha: I would like to know the characteristics and divisions of Krsna’s sakhas.

Gosvami: Krsna’s friends have forms, qualities and attire exactly like those of the dasya-bhaktas, but they do not have sambhramabhava as the servants do; rather, they are imbued with visrambhabhava.  Krsna’s friends are divided into two categories: those who reside in the city (pura), and those in Vraja. Arjuna, Bhima, Draupadi and Sridama brahmana (Sudama vipra) are sakhas of the city, amongst whom Arjuna is the best.

     The sakhas who reside in Vraja always want to be with Krsna, and they always have an intense hankering to see Him, for He is their life and soul. For that reason, they are the principal sakhas.  There are four types of sakhas in Vraja: 1) suhrt, 2) sakha, 3) priyasakha, and 4) priya-narma-sakha. The suhrt-sakhas are somewhat older than Krsna, and they have some vatsalya-bhava mixed in their moods towards Him. They carry weapons, and always protect Krsna from miscreants. They include Subhadra, Mandalibhadra, Bhadravardhana, Gobhata, Yaksa, Indrabhata, Bhadranga, Virabhadra, Mahaguna, Vijaya and Balabhadra. Mandalibhadra and Balabhadra are the most prominent among them. 

     The sakhas are somewhat younger than Krsna, and their mood of friendship is alloyed with a touch of dasya-bhava. They include Visala, Vrsabha, Ojasvi, Devaprastha, Varuthapa, Maranda, Kusumapida, Manibaddha and Karandhama. Devaprastha is the best of these. 

     The priya-sakhas are friends of the same age as Krsna with unalloyed sakhya-bhava. These include Sridama, Sudama, Dama, Vasudama, Kinkini, Stoka-Krsna, Amsu, Bhadrasena, Vilasi, Pundarika, Vitanka and Kalavinka.

     Krsna’s priya-narma-sakhas are superior to the three other groups of sakhas – namely the suhrt-sakhas, the sakhas and the priyasakhas – and they are expert at performing extremely confidential activities. They include Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta and Ujjvala, who always speaks joking words. Among the sakhas, some are nitya-priya (nitya-siddhas); some were previously devatas who attained the position of Krsna’s friends by sadhana; and some are sadhakas. They delight Krsna and create varieties of amusement by a variety of distinctive moods and gestures in friendly service. 

Vrajanatha: What is the uddipana in this rasa?

Gosvami: Uddipana in sakhya-rasa includes Krsna’s age; His beautiful form; His horn, venu and conch-shell; His joking and laughter; His valiant deeds; and His performance of pastimes. In the pasturing grounds (gostha), His kumara age is uddipana, and in Gokula, His kaisora age is uddipana.

Vrajanatha: I would like to know about the anubhavas that are common (sadharana) to all the groups of sakhas.

Gosvami: Some of the sadharana-anubhavas of the sakhas are wrestling; ball games; riding on each other’s shoulders; stick-fighting; reclining or sitting together with Krsna on a bed, a sitting place, or a swing; sitting down and joking; water sports; playing with monkeys; trying to please Krsna; dancing; and singing. In addition to these general activities, the suhrt-sakhas typically give good advice and take the lead in all activities. The special activities of the sakhas are offering tambula, drawing tilaka markings, anointing Krsna with sandalwood paste and so on. The special activities of the priya-sakhas are defeating Krsna in fighting, pulling Krsna by His cloth, and being decorated by Krsna. The special prerogative of the priya-narma-sakhas is to assist in Krsna’s madhura-lila.  Like dasas, they decorate Krsna with forest flowers and render service such as fanning Him.

Vrajanatha: What are the sattvika and sancari-bhavas in sakhya-rasa? 

Gosvami: They are similar to those of dasya-rasa, but somewhat more intense.

Vrajanatha: What is the nature of the sthayibhava of this rasa?

Gosvami: Srila Rupa Gosvami has written in Sri Bhakti-rasamrt-asindhu (Western Division 9.3.45):

vimukta-sambhrama ya syad visrambhatma ratir dvayoh

prayah samanayor atra sa sakhyam sthayi-sabda-bhak


     Sakhya-sthayibhava is rati that is full of intimacy and free from feelings of reverence between two personalities who are ordinarily equal.

Vrajanatha: What is visrambha?

Gosvami: visrambho gadha-visvasa-viseso yantranojjhitah

                                           Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Western Division 3.46)

          Visrambha is the deep confidence which is devoid of restraint,which causes one to                      think that there is no differenceat all between oneself and Krsna.

Vrajanatha: Please be so kind as to tell me about the gradual development of this visrambha.

Gosvami: This sakhya-rasa arrives at the stage of pranaya, after incorporating prema, sneha, and raga.

Vrajanatha: What are the symptoms of pranaya?

Gosvami: Pranaya is rati that is completely free from the slightest scent of reverence, even in circumstances that would ordinarily invoke such feelings.

     The greatness of sakhya-rasa is unprecedented. In prita-rasa and vatsalya-rasa, Krsna’s bhava and the bhava of His bhakta are different from each other. Amongst all the rasas, prema-rasa – that is sakhya-rasa – is certainly dear (priya), because in this rasa both Krsna and His bhaktas have the same sweet bhava.





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