Rasa analysis of Krishna’s teasing of Rukmini
Radharani is Satyabhama – neither is afraid to neglect Krishna. Chandravali is Rukmini – both wait for Krishna and are afraid that he will leave them. Both the moods are meant for pleasing Krsna. Krsna likes variety.
Here goal of Krsna is to relish the beauty of Rukmini when she is angry – so he is trying to provoke here. At the end however she becomes angry when she refutes Krsna’s arguments one by one.
In relationships there has to be a healthy blend of predictability & unpredictability. Too much predictability affects the excitement in the relationship. Too much unpredictability affects the stability of relationship.
Rukmini’s reaction to Krsna’s words revealed a new facet of her love for Krsna: Krishna expected humour, but got horror.
Rasa Theory – constituents of any rasa:
1. Karana: Stimulus – external condition that activates the emotion. 2 types of Karana: Uddipan – setting, alamban – people.
2. Karya: external actions & gestures that express the emotion. 2 types – conscious & unconscious (asta sattvik vikara).
3. Sahakari: assisting emotions & actions that flavours the main emotion.
When a pregnant woman screams due to labor pain, a child is born. But if a woman who isn’t pregnant starts screaming, it is futile. Similarly when a devotee who has intense love for Krsna within his heart, manifests emotions & actions unconsciously (asta sattvik vikaras), Krsna is attracted. But when sahajiyas, who have no genuine love for Krsna, imitate pure devotees by consciously displaying emotions of love for Krsna, it is unfruitful.
Find what uddipana inspires you – place yourself in the current of emotion that takes you towards Krishna.
Lecture Transcription done by Ananda Chaitanya Prabhu and his team:
ayaà hi paramo läbho
yan narmair éyate yämaù
priyayä bhéru bhämini
ayam—this; hi—indeed; paramaù—the greatest; läbhaù—gain; gåheñu—in family life; gåha-medhinäm—for worldly householders; yat—which; narmaiù—with joking words; éyate—is spent; yämaù—time; priyayä—with one’s beloved; bhéru—O timid one; bhämini—O temperamental one.
The greatest pleasure worldly householders can enjoy at home is to spend time joking with their beloved wives, My dear timid and temperamental one.
The word bhämini indicates an angry, passionate, temperamental woman. Since lovely Rukmiëé did not become angry despite all provocation, the Lord is still speaking facetiously.
Today we are discussing about Krishna intimate dealing with Rukmini Devi. So I will analyze this pastime based on the principle of Rasa as given by Srila Rupa Goswami in Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu and subsequent book Ujjvala Nilamani and by Jiva Goswami in his commentary on the Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu that is dig darsini tika. So I will talk about this in three parts. First is I will talk about relationships per say, what they require. Then I will talk about the concept of Rasa and how that relates with relationship in the worldly realm and in the transcendental realm and then lastly we will discuss about how this can apply to us in our lives.
Connection between Krishna’s pastimes in Dvarika and Vrindavana
So ayaà hi paramo läbho, Krishna is talking with Rukmini and the background of this pastime is that Krishna has teased Rukmini trying to make her angry. So he teases her but instead of getting angry, Rukmini becomes overwhelmed. So Krishna teases her saying that “I am a cowherd and you were born in a princes, in illustrious family and probably you made a mistake by choosing me” and he wants Rukmini to get angry. Now Jiva Goswami explains in Gopal Champu that actually there is a connection between Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan and in Dwarka. Especially the Lalit madhav and the Vidagdh madhav talk about this connection quite specifically – which gopis from the Vraj lila manifest as the Patranis, as the queens in Dwarka Lila. So one interesting point he makes over there is that Radharani manifests as Satyabhama and Chandravali manifests as Rukmini and the reason for this is that there is a particular mood that is displayed by the queens.
Comparison of Radharani and Chandravali’s love
Ex honey and ghee
So in Vraja lila, in Ujjval Nilamani Rupa Goswami explains that the love of Radharani for Krishna is like honey and the love of Chandravali for Krishna is like ghee. Both are wonderful but there is a difference in the flavor. So Radharani, she in her love, she demands from Krishna, Whereas Chandravali is very submissive.
Ex He elephant and she elephant
So Rupa Goswami gives the example that in the scriptures often to talk about the relationship between male and females, a standard example that is used is of Elephant. So just as there is a story of Gajendra who was with his many queens. So like that there is a he Elephant and there are many she elephants. So Rupa Goswami gives the example that consider three elephants. One he elephant and two she elephants. So he says that there are these two she elephants. Krishna is like the he elephant and Radharani and Chandravali are like the she elephants. The difference is that among these three elephants say… the elephant is pursuing one of the she elephants and that she elephant doesn’t care for him and she is just going away and neglecting him and this another she elephant who is following this he elephant ready to do whatever that he Elephants wants. So the She elephant who neglects the he Elephant that is compared to Radharani.
Different moods of serving Krishna
So Radharani, we have the pastime in the Maan mandir, where Radharani is annoyed with Krishna and Krishna apologizes. He touches his head down to Radharani’s feet. So that rather than … now this is all transcendental, the mood is of serving Krishna only but within service there are different flavors. I will come to that little later but the point is although both Chandravali and Radharani both wants to serve Krishna, they serve in different flavors. So Chandravali is always concerned about pleasing Krishna and even if Krishna neglects her, she thinks what can I do for Krishna, how can I please Krishna. So she practically never expresses her displeasure even if Krishna neglects her whereas Radharani demands from Krishna and she is not afraid that if I do not pay attention to Krishna, Krishna will leave me and go away. No Krishna is going to follow me and she demands from Krishna. So this mood of demanding from Krishna we see in Satyabhama. When Rukmini is given a Parijat by Krishna when he goes to the Heavens and comes back with a Parijat. So at that time Satyabhama doesn’t think that, ohh if I ask Krishna for a flower Krishna will think that I am jealous. No she is …she directly goes in to, what we call in mundane terms, is bad mood and she demands from Krishna, “Give me a Parijat” So Krishna tells, “What to speak of giving a Parijat, I will take you to heaven itself” and then he takes her on Garuda to heaven and then he gives a huge gift to her. So the mood of Radharani of demanding from Krishna that is the mood which is reflected by Satyabhama. Whereas the mood of waiting on Krishna, doing whatever Krishna wants that is the mood of Chandravali and that is reflected by Rukmini. So now both these moods are made are meant ultimately for the pleasure of Krishna. It is not that Satyabhama does not love Krishna, nor it is that Radharani doesn’t love Krishna. They love Krishna but in relationships Krishna has different flavors which he relishes with different devotees. So there is a prominent flavor that is relished in each particular relationship.
Krishna wanted to see Rukmini angry
Now in his relationship with Rukmini. Krishna wants to taste a different flavor. So normally Rukmini is always waiting to please Krishna and no matter what Krishna does. So when Krishna gives a Parijat flower to Rukmini and then he gives a whole Parijat garden to Satyabamha then Rukmini never expresses any displeasure. So now Krishna know naturally there are these dynamics that will there between co-wives but she does not give vent to her emotions and Krishna in this particular pastime wants to see Rukmini angry. He wants to taste a different flavor in that relationship and that’s why he deliberately speaks provocative words and his goal is to see her angry.
Worldly relationships are perverted reflections of the spiritual relationships
Now in this world, sometimes in movies, when heroine becomes angry with the hero, the hero wants to pacify her, he says “You look very beautiful when you are angry.” Now when a woman is praised, “You look very beautiful” then she is pleased with that and that’s how the hero tries to bypass the anger. Then the heroine says, “This is the old line. I won’t get carried away by this.” So the point is this is a reflection of what is there originally in the spiritual world, in the relationships between the Lord and his devotees within Madurya raas.
Rukmini devi becomes anxious and falls unconscious
So Krishna wants to see the beauty of Rukmini when she is angry. But Rukmini unexpectedly rather than becoming angry at Krishna, she becomes filled with anxiety and she becomes almost unconscious and Krishna has to revive her and Krishna has to console her and then he tells, “I was only joking.” So that’s what he says, “Such jokes are what are actually the joy of our life” and now Rukmini composes herself and we will see after this that Rukmini becomes angry for Krishna’s pleasure and she counters all of Krishna’s argument.
Rukmini Devi took the highest risk to get Krishna
So when Rukmini sees that my basic relationship is secure …we know that relatively speaking among all the queens, it was Rukmini who took the greatest risk. All the other queens Krishna won in Svayamvar but Rukmini was on the verge of being wedded to somebody else and all the arrangements were practically made and in those times for unmarried woman to write a letter to some other male, that was quite forbidden in those times. So yet Rukmini took that risk and send a letter to Krishna and in that letter she express that vrata-kṛśān, She says that “If Krishna I do not get your shelter then I will give up my body and you who are the Supreme Lord whose lotus feet shelter even Brahma and Shiva”,
vānchanty umā-patir ivātma-tamo-’pahatyai
yarhy ambujākṣa na labheya bhavat-prasādaṁ
jahyām asūn vrata-kṛśān śata-janmabhiḥ syāt
she says that “If I do not get your shelter then I am ready to give up my life and not just once I am ready to give up my life hundreds of times still I can get you one day.” So for her just sending that letter was a great risk to her reputation and for a women in those times the reputation was very important, the reputation of purity, the reputation of chastity was very, very important and she took that risk and she said also that “I am ready to give up my life, I cannot live without you.” So now that her great risk in obtaining the Lord that was a great fulfillment for her. But now when she thought that I am going to lose Krishna, just couldn’t tolerate it and she fell unconscious. If Krishna leaves me, she had no conception ever of leaving Krishna but if Krishna leaves me how will I live, she just fell unconscious.
When does people fall unconscious?
Normally physiologically when do people fall unconscious? No when the stimuli that we are experiencing at the conscious level are so severe to tolerate that the mind switches to unconsciousness. So that happens, it can be either because of physical pain or it can happen because of emotional pain. Physically when a person gets too much blows. Somebody is beaten beaten beaten, so when the body cannot tolerate that pain then the body switches off its consciousness, we go unconscious or emotionally also when there is a big trauma and the person can’t with stand it then the person falls unconscious. So Rukmini there was no physical trauma to her but there was emotionally she was horrified, devastated, shattered. Just the thought that I may lose Krishna, she just fell unconscious. This was not at all the reaction that Krishna expected. Then Krishna also became anxious then he revived her, consoled her and then he is speaking this verse. So now this is the last verse that Krishna speaks and then Rukmini will respond from here onwards.
Relationships need a healthy blend of predictability and unpredictability
So now in relationships to be exciting need to have a healthy blend of predictability and unpredictability. In relationships there has to be a healthy blend of predictability and unpredictability.
Predictability alone leads to loss of excitement in relationship
Predictability means that when we develop a relationship with someone there is a certain understanding that Ok this person’s character is like this, this person’s nature is like this and overall we expect the person to expect in particular way. However if everything about that person becomes predictable then the relationship becomes monotonous. It almost becomes relating with a robo. Now everything is … ok you speak this, this person will speak this. If I speak this this person will speak this, if I speak this this person will speak this. Then if I do this, this person will do this. Then the excitement in the relationship goes away. So there is some unpredictability. If I speak this and this person suddenly speaks this, I did n’t expect that. And then we come to know new facet of that person. And the sweetness in the relationship deepens.
Unpredictability alone leads to loss of security or stability in relationships
However, if there is only unpredictability in the relationship then we don’t know what to expect. We just don’t have any foundation for the relationship. You know it’s like … if there is only unpredictability in the relationship, it’s like walking in the minefield. We don’t know what we will speak and what explosion will happen because of what we speak. So if there is only unpredictability then there is no stability, no security in the relationship. On the other hand, if there is only unpredictability in the relationship then that relationship degenerates into monotony. So that’s why there has to be a balance of predictability and unpredictability to keep a relationship alive and exciting.
Krishna wanted something unusual but he got something unexpected from Rukmini
So Krishna, He knew that Rukmini is vama svabhava, she is gentle nature and she nevers get angry with me. So that was the predictable reaction. But now he wanted something unpredictable. He wanted something unusual. He wanted something unusual but he got a unexpected reaction. The unusual thing he wanted was that Rukmini should become angry. But instead of becoming angry, she became anxious. So there was this … this also surprised Krishna. Because by this, by the intensity of her anxiety also she revealed her love for Krishna. So even in that unpredictability, Krishna wanted something unusual but what came out was not what he expected, but still through that, through that anxiety also, she revealed her love for Krishna.
Rukmini’s anxiety revealed her love for Krishna
We don’t get anxious about things which we are not concerned about. The greater we love something, the greater is our anxiety when there is some risk connected with that thing. Rukmini’s anxiety reveals a new aspect of her love for Krishna to Krishna. And then Rukmini curbed her own anxiety when she saw that Krishna consoled her, Krishna spoke the words and then she in order to please Krishna did what Krishna wanted i.e. she became angry.
Why Srila Prabhupada translated madhurya as conjugal?
So now this is the specifics about this particular pastime. Now going to the Rasa in this pastime. There is the primary rasa is madhurya rasa. Madhurya rasa is Srila Prabhupada translates it as conjugal love. Now Prabhupada is very precise in technical terms. Actually the word conjugal refers to married love, love between the husband and wife. So conjugal is not exactly the relationship between the gopis and Krishna, there is parakiya bhava. So Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur in his translations would use amorous rasa, amorous emotions. Amore is the male female attraction. And it can be in married as well as unmarried. So he translated madhurya as amorous affection. Prabhupada uses conjugal affection because from the siddhanta point of view, from the rasa point of view, just to increase the flavor, just to increase the excitement and intensity in the relationship, Krishna arranges that the gopis are unmarried to him. So that there is more suspense and more thrill in that relationship. But from the point of view of tattva, Krishna is the Lord of everyone and he is the Lord of the gopis also. So Prabhupada by using the word conjugal to translate madhurya. The word madhurya is non-specific, madhurya is basically refers to the relationship between male and female that can be male and female can be married or male and female can be unmarried. But Prabhupada conveys the philosophical point that even if they appear unmarried actually from the philosophical point of view, they are married and that is why he uses the word conjugal instead of amorous to refer to the relationship between Krishna and his devotees and his female devotees.
Two kinds of madhurya rasa
So now there is aisvarya madhurya, there is visrambha madhura. Visrambha madhurya is very intense, very affectionate. The Braj devotees, their affection for Krishna is visrambha, is very intimate, it’s not covered by knowledge of aisvarya.
Aisvarya sithila prema na isvara bhujaye
Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says in Caitanya Caritamrita that Aisvarya sithila prema that … sithila means to become weak or faint. So the love that has become weakened by the awareness of aisvarya. The Lord is not pleased by that he says. So now in Dvarika, overall the awareness of aisvarya is there. Although there is definitely there is intimacy in the male female madhurya rasa but there is still aisvarya is there. So now in this particular emotion where there is some tinge of reverence. So Rukmini does not get angry with Krishna. So her stable relationship is of a very congenial, serving disposition where as what Krishna wants is for her to become angry. So this is the different flavor in that particular relationship.
Rupa Goswami’s framework of Rasa analysis vis a vis Bharat Muni
So now going to the principle of rasa. Now Rupa Goswami develop his rasa theory in Bhakti Rasamrita sindhu based primarily on Bharat muni’s natya sastra. Bharat muni is the seminal teacher of natya sastra of rasa. He talks about the concept of rasa first in natya sastra and there are Vopadeva and others who actually write in their commentaries…____, who write in their commentaries developing the concept of rasa further. So now we may all have heard these terms of sthayi bhava, vyabhicari, anubhava, vibhava. Sometimes these terms seem a little confusing. So I will use first the terminology which is used by Bharat muni in natya sastra which is very simple terminology. And then I will connect that terminology with the terminology which Rupa Goswami uses and we will see that how that framework of analysis applies to that pastime.
Bharat Muni’s frame work of rasa
So now Bharat muni says that there are basically three factors – there is karana, karya and sahakari. Karana is the external conditions and causes. Karana, that which is the… we could call the stimulus. I will elaborate this a little more.
So suppose somebody gets angry, there is some external condition, some external stimulus. Now mother has told her child, don’t play on the road and the mother sees the child playing on the road. She sees the child’s disobedience, she becomes angry. So there is karana, there is external stimulus.
Then there is karya, karya is the actions and expressions, the external actions and expressions. Because emotions are internal. How do we know that somebody is experiencing some emotion? That is when there are some expressions. Somebody may not get angry, someone may not shout when they become angry but they may bite their lip or they may clench their fists or we may …their nerve going up over here. They are trying to control their anger, whatever. So the point is that there are certain external expressions and gestures which express the emotion. So this is karya. So karana is the external stimulus, karya is the external expression.
And sahakari, sahakari as the word means associates or assistants. So sahakari refers to the assisting emotions or actions which flavor, which intensity, which nuance, which complement, which basically enhanced the main emotion. So there is karya, karana and sahakari. There is stimulus, the action and the assistants for it. So now there are these three broad terminologies, three terms.
Rupa Goswami’s frame work of Rasa
Two types of karana – Uddipana & Alambana
Now let us look at the terms which Rupa Goswami uses and says how they fit in that. Now in the karana, there are two types of karana – there is, we can more or less, static and dynamic – those which are active and not so active. So that means these two are called alambana and uddipana.
E.g. of Uddipana
So uddipana is the static setting. For example in the rasa lila, at the start when … in the 29th chapter it is described that the beautiful full moon of sarad has risen. And that full moon when it illumined the whole sky, Krishna looked at that full moon and his heart desired to perform an amorous pastime with the gopis. So the full moon of sarad that is the uddipana, it’s one of the uddipana. So uddipana is more or less the setting.
E.g. of alambana
And then there is alambana, other players are the characters. So then Krishna when he went in the forest and he played his flute. So when he played the flute, he saw the gopis coming and he beheld their beauty and they beheld their anxiety. Acaryas describe that the gopis were so anxious that they did not even dress themselves properly. Now they put dress which was meant for one part of the body to another part of the body. Now normally a woman dress themselves quite well, especially when one is going to meet her beloved. She would be very conscientious that she dresses nicely and she looks beautiful. But the intensity of gopis’ love for Krishna and fervency of their desire to reciprocate with Krishna’s call was so great that even that which is the normal feminine tendency of dressing carefully and dressing especially carefully when one is going to meet one’s beloved. That was also forgotten. That was like the pull of Krishna. So the goswamis explain that Krishna’s flute song that it was like the, the strains of the sound of the flute music that came out of Krishna’s flute and his mouth, they were like ropes, they entered into the hearts of the gopis and pulled them making them leave whatever they were doing. Sarva dharman parityajya. Even the stri dharma of dressing oneself carefully, they forgot even that. They just ran to Krishna. So now when Krishna saw for the gopis, the sight of Krishna that is the alambana and for Krishna, seeing the gopis that is alambana. So Srila Prabhupada says when the gopis sees Krishna smiling so beautiful, the gopis become very happy and when they become happy then their beauty increases. Now even a face which is not very good looking, when there is a smile, it looks warm, it looks pleasant. And somebody is already beautiful when there is a smile, the beauty increases all the more. So when Krishna saw the beauty of the gopis enhanced, he became very happy, He became pleased and his beauty became enhanced. His beauty became enhanced, the gopis saw that and they may became pleased. So in this way, there is a symbiotic upsurge of emotions that happened. So this is alambana. So now in the karya, in the external condition and causes. So there is uddipana and alambana. Uddipana is the setting, alambana are the characters.
Two types of karya – Anubhava (Conscious emotions) and Vibhava (Subconcious emotions)
Now in the karya which are the actions, which are the external expressions of the emotions. There are two types – there are conscious and there are subconscious. For example the asta sattvika vikaras, the sattvik bhava. When somebody starts trembling, the hairs stand on end, or the kantha becomes choked. Now all this when it happens, it is subconscious, it is not that they are wanting to do this.
E.g. Yasoda mayi and Krishna
So when Yasoda mayi sees Krishna. Krishna is coming backfrom home after a long day and Yasoda mayi is again thinking when will Krishna come, when will Krishna come and then she is peering out towards the pathway. When will Krishna come and then she sees Krishna coming. And when Krishna comes then spontaneously she would have her arms opened and then Krishna runs into her embrace. So she is tall and Krishna is little small when he is a small boy. So she comes down on her knees and she opens her hand so that Krishna will run into her embrace. So that opening her arms that is a conscious action. And unconsciously her heart starts throbbing in greater excitement, in greater eagerness, in fervency. So these are sub-conscious. So in the karya – there are sub-conscious and there are conscious. So the ecstasy is usually the asta sattvika vikaras, they are usually sub-conscious.
Acaryas disapprove imitation of subconscious symptoms
And that is why when somebody tries to consciously, intentionally imitate them then the acarys disapprove it as sahajiyas. Because there there is no actual emotion there.
E.g. Pregnant lady
So Gaur Kisore Das Babaji was a very strong critic of Sahajiyaism and he gives an example saying that when a woman is pregnant and she is in the final stages, contractions are intensifying, she is about to deliver so at that time because of the labor pain she may scream. Now those screams are the natural result of the child emerging from the body. And although there are the screams the result of that, now when a woman is under labor pain all the relatives and family members would come over, Oh now the child is going to be born, her health is good, child’s health is good, so they would all come around over there. Through all those intense calls of pains and screams the child is going to be born. Now there is another woman who is not pregnant and she thinks no one pays any attention to me, so she also starts screaming but no body is going to come to her. So the screams of a woman in labor leads to the birth of a child but the screams of a woman who is not pregnant there is no child going to come from that. Similarly a devotee who has advanced love for Krishna when there are sub conscious symptoms of ecstasy, then Krishna naturally gets attracted and Krishna comes running, Oh this devotee is filled with so much ecstacy. But one who imitates, a pregnant woman has associated with her husband and the husband has given seed by which the child is going to be born. Like that a devotee associates with Krishna, serves Krishna and bhakti lata bija that comes from the guru, the devotee tends that and make sure that it grows and then over a period of time symptoms of ecstasy gradually manifests. But one who had not done all that and just suddenly tries to imitate prematurely, artificially these ashta sattvika vikaras then Krishna doesn’t become attracted and by such imitations bhakti doesn’t become enhanced, rather bhakti becomes depleted. As Prabhupada said poignantly. Traditionally in Gaudiya Vaishnavism it is said that tears of love are the conclusion of all philosophy. We study all philosophy so that we can cry for Krishna but Prabhupada says in his CC purport that the tears of the Sahajiyas wipe out the philosophy from their consciousness. They don’t cause the culmination of the philosophy but the eradication of the philosophy. Because they have not understood the basic difference between authentic emotion and imitative emotions. The real spiritual substance and the artificial mundane imitation.
Types of vibhava – Asta sattvik vikaras and Sattvika bhavas
So the point is in karya there is anubhava and vibhava. So vibhava are the sub conscious emotions and anubhava are the conscious emotions. So in Vibhava there is also the ashta sattvika vikaras, they are sattvika bhavas as they are called. So this is the broad framework. So in any action, there is the expression of emotion, there are external causes and there is external expression of those emotions.
Sahakari – vyabhicari bhava
And along with that there are sahakaris. Sahakaris are assistants. This sahakari Rupa Goswami terms as Vyabhicari bhava. Vyabhichari bhava are those that supplement those emotions. So for example within Krishna’s relationship with Yasoda Mayi there is sthayi bhava and there is Vyabhicari bhava. Sthayi bhava is the steady emotion. So the steady emotion is of the love between mother and a child. Now within the love between the mother and the child there can be various emotions that intensify. There are 12 rasas, 5 are considered primary and 7 are considered secondary. So now what do we mean by primary and secondary, that means the first 5 are the sthayi bahavas. They are the prominent flavor of the relationship. Previously we talked about how relationship needs to have predictability and unpredictability. So say within mother child relationship the predictable part, sthayi bhava is that you are my child and I am your mother. Now imagine that suddenly in that relationship, the child says you are not my mother and I reject you and the mother says I reject you. Now husband and wife can have various flavors in their relationships. They can get angry, they can tease, they can joke. But suddenly if the husband says I reject the wife and the wife says I reject the husband then the whole relationship will collapse. So Sthayi bhava is what maintains the relationship.
Sthayi bhava is the predictable part of relationship
So I spoke about predictability and unpredictability. Sthayi bhava is the predictable part of the relationship. If the sthayi bhava is lost then the relationship becomes so unpredictable as to become insecure and to breakdown.
Vyabhiicari part is the unpredictable part of relationship
And the vyabhichari bhava add the unpredictable flavor, you could say sauce to the relationship. It’s like there is main flavor of the food item and then we add some flavor like chutney, sauce etc. to give further taste to that items. So vyabhichari bhava is the additional emotion that comes when the sthayi bhava is to be enhanced in a different way.
Madhurya here was enhanced by bhayanaka rather then hasya
So within the sthayi bhava of madhurya that is the predictable steady relationship between Rukmini and Krsna and within that sthayi bhava there is vyabhichari. So now in the 7 secondary rasas that we have there is bibhatsa, bhayanaka, krodha, humour, horror, anger, fear…so all these add to the relationship. So Krishna wanted humor but Rukmini responded with horror. So Krishna wanted to joke with Rukmini but unfortunately Rukmini could not get the joke. So she responded with horror but both ways whether the madhurya was enhanced by hasya or by bhayanaka. Either way there was a flavor that was not there that came in that relationship. So Krishna expressed His love in a different way to Rukmini and Rukmini initially responded in an unexpected way and then in a way Krishna which desired. Although even that was different from the pattern.
Applying Rupa Goswami’s framework to this pastime
So with respect to this pastime, if you want to analyze now, karana karya sahakari. So karana is the external stimulus, so in that there is alambana and uddipana. Uddipana is the setting and alambana is the characters. Then there is karya, in karya there is the conscious actions and the unconscious actions. So that is the anubhava and vibhava. And then there is sahakari, sahakari is the assistant to that emotion so that is the vyabhichari bhava.
Uddipana and Alambana
So now in this particular pastime the setting is Krishna and Rukmini, they are there in Rukmini’s palace and they are talking affectionately with each other and the setting of the palace is the uddipana. So Krishna has so many queens but Krishna has come to Rukmini’s palace. So Rukmini is very pleased and she is welcoming Krishna and she wants to serve and please Him. So that the setting of the palace is the Uddipana, the arrival of Krishna is the alambana
But within that Krishna’s speech is quite unexpected and is quite horrifying for Rukmini. So when she speaks like this, this is the karana. Now the karya is when Rukmini faints. When she hears Krishna speaking like this she faints. Now her fainting is not a conscious action. She is so horrified that she can’t bear it, she just faints and that is sub-conscious. And then afterwards she would recover, she will pull herself together and then she will counter Krishna. So she would refute Krishna and that is the conscious part. And then in this whole process the sahakari, within the madhurya the Vyabhichari bhava that have come here are the humour and horror. So in this way Rupa Goswami in the Ujjwala Nilamani actually analyzes various situations. Of course he doesn’t go into too much into Dwarka lila. He primarily focusses on the Vraja lila and he analyzes different situations. So when Krishna does this then a particular gopi does this and then this particular action by this particular gopi in that particular situation demonstrates this particular emotion. The whole Ujjavala Nilamani is an analysis of the emotions that gopis display in various settings and in that way he advances what he had talked about in the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu.
Are emotions to be analyzed?
So now we may wonder that emotions are something that should be relished. Are they something to be analyzed?
1. So much analysis by acaryas in their books?
Actually if you see there is so much analysis. Rupa Goswami does analysis in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu but much more in Ujjavala Nilamani. Jiva goswami also does a lot of analysis in his commentaries Diga Darsini Tika. So are emotions to be relished or analyzed.
2. Recreate situations to rekindle emotions of love for Krishna
The answer to this question is the foundation of Gaudiya Vaishnava Sadhana. It’s a whole subject in itself but I will briefly state this and then we will conclude. So the point of Gaudiya Vaishnava sadhana is that practice brings perfection. That means the emotions which the gopis, which the advanced devotees of Krishna are experiencing when we act in the same ways, so Rupa Goswami says that when a devotee go and stays in Vrindavan, why stay in Vrindavan because then the same uddipana and the same alambana that were there for Krishna and His devotees that will become accessible for us. So the whole principle of sadhana bhakti is, at least as it is talked about in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, is that we try to get as many of the original uddipana and alambana as possible. And we try to do as many of the original karyas as possible. So for example in the temple we have not just the deity, yes the deity is there and the deity is the heart of the temple, but along with that there are many other devotional uddipanas. There are pictures of Krishna, there are garlands or other icons. The whole idea is that more and more stimuli to remember Krishna can be there. And that same we try to replicate in our homes wherever we are. So for example here we have not just the temple where there are many spiritual uddipanas, we have Vrindavan garden and Prabhupada wanted to create nava Vrindavan in New Vrindavan and that is what is being attempted now at Wada. So the idea is that those spiritual uddipanas that were there make them as accessible as possible. So the emotions that are there in our hearts are very tender. But when the uddipana is there those emotions will get kindled more and more and they will grow by that. So the purpose of analyzing emotions is so that we can recreate the situations in which those emotions will arise in our hearts and then we can relish those emotions.
Ultimate thing is to relish emotions
So certainly the ultimate thing that we want to do with emotions is relish them. pibata bhägavataà rasam älayaà muhur aho rasikä bhuvi bhävukäù….become a rasika. So the Bhagavatam from 1.1.1 to 1.1.3 it actually is describing its own journey. 1.1.1 is dhimahi…meditate on that absolute truth. 1.1.3 is rasika pibata, pibata drink, relish. So if you see meditation is more of dhimahi .especially the word dhimahi comes in the gayatri mantra and it is to be chanted in a very sober, clean and pure setting. So that is more or less meditation on the greatness of God where one is intellectually aware of the greatness of God and one meditates on that greatness. Whereas pibata drink, relish that is more related to spontaneous emotions. So the bhagvatam itself will trace its journey from analysis to relishing.
Practical application in life
Find the activity which causes uddipana
And when we study these exalted pastimes what is our purpose. To the extent we have capacity we can analyze, so that we can individualize the process of bhakti and find out what are the uddipan, what are the stimuli that attract our consciousness towards Krishna. There is certainly a standard process of bhakti wherein we chant the holy name, we attend the class, take darshan of the deities, this is all important and we need to do this. At the same time within the various activities of bhakti we will all find that there are certain things that attract us more. Some devotees may like doing deity worship more, some may like doing kirtan more, some devotees may like study shastras more. Even in the shastras, there are substantially different flavours in different shastras. So we have to find out what is the most stimulating uddipan for us. Now we are not thinking uddipan in terms of esoteric pastimes of Krishna, we are applying the concept of uddipan down to our level. The point is that we find out what is it that stimulates spiritual emotions with in us. What is that kindles our attraction towards Krishna. What is it in which we can most easily and deeply absorb ourselves in Krishna. And then we try to maximize those uddipana around us. So if we find that by singing Vaishnava songs I can become absorbed in Krishna most. Then we can take out some extra time to memorize some Vaishnava songs. It is not that memorizing a whole song is very difficult, I can’t do that. No we don’t have to … actually if we want a spiritual uddipana we have to be clear about the purpose. It’s not even necessary to memorize the full song. Even one line from one song can inspire us and we just memorize that.
How to create those uddipanas around us?
We find out that what is the uddipana that stimulates us the most and then we create more and more of uddipanas around us. Physically in the external environment that we are in and intellectually inside us by remembering them, by assimilating them. And in that way the spiritual emotions will become stimulated more and more. Unfortunately in this world there are more than enough material uddipanas around us. Every hoarding that we see that is a super powerful material uddipaan. That evokes lust, that evokes greed, so many worldly emotions. So one aspect of bhakti sadhana is to minimize our exposure to these material uddipana, material stimuli. But that is only the negative and saying no no no that is never pleasant, it is never fulfilling. We have to do it but it is never fulfilling. Fulfillment comes when we say yes to something positive. And that’s why more important than finding out what are the temptations that we have to be beware of. Yes that is important but even more important for our happy progress in bhakti is finding out what are the spiritual stimuli that attracts us towards Krishna and by maximizing our exposure to those stimuli, we can channelize our emotions towards Krishna more and more and thus we can protect ourselves from being dragged away by emotions away from Krishna towards maya. And in this way the process of bhakti will not just be intellectual process where we understand with analysis, this is what I should do, I should not do. It is important we have to do that.
Benefit of surrounding ourselves with uddipanas
But along with that when we surround ourselves with spiritual uddipanas, then even our emotions will get involved and the force of our emotions will take us towards Krishna. Otherwise the force of our intelligence that is going us to push towards Krishna and the force of our emotions that is trying to push us away from Krishna and then in the inner tug of war we can’t just sustain always on the strength of our intelligence. We definitely need our intelligence but we also need to channelize the force of our emotions and sometimes in a river there are multiple streams, multiple currents.
Analogy of currents in the ocean
Especially if you study the oceanography, there are different currents in the ocean. So some water in the Atlantic ocean say and the Indian ocean is coming from Australia. It is moving towards India. Some water in the Indian ocean is coming from India, it is moving towards Australia. So now what happens the sailors who are there, they are aware of the streams and then if the ship wants to go from India to Australia, if it gets caught in the current that is coming from Australia to India, then the effort to move will be much more. But if it is going in the current which is going from India to Australia then it will move much faster. So like that there are different currents of emotions in our consciousness. So some currents goes towards Krishna, some currents goes away from Krishna. We have to situate ourselves in the current that is going towards Krishna. And before that we have to find out which is the current. There are definitely currents like that which are going towards Krishna also. But often when we focus too much on saying oh I should not do this, I should not, I should do this then all that we are doing is by thinking of what we should not do, we are unwittingly situated ourselves in the current which is going away from Krishna. And then it becomes very difficult to resist the pull of worldly emotions. But by understanding this principle of uddipana especially in the practice of our bhakti, we can situate ourselves in the current that moves towards Krishna and thus make our progress more easier and more joyful.
Summary of the talk
So I will summarize. I started by talking about how in this pastime Krishna wants Rukmini to demonstrate something unpreditable. So instead of predictable amicability, congeniability, he wants to see her fury. And then we discussed about how Candravali is Rukmini and Radharani is Satyabhama. So the relationship to be exciting need to have a blend of the predictable and the unpredictable. Then we discussed about the framework of rasa – there is karana, karya and sahakari. And we discussed how these all they naturally accompany emotions but they can also be used to accompany so that the emotions get enhanced. And lastly we discussed about how this applies to the pastime here and then how this analysis applies to us in our lives that we can minimize the exposure to material uddipanas and find out what are our spiritual uddipanas and surround ourselves with those spiritual uddipanas and thus use the current of our emotions to accelerate our journey towards Krishna. Thank you very much!
Very ecstatic and transcendental.