From love universal to bhakti confidential – Gaudiya Vaishnavism glories 4 – Relishing the transformational legacy of God’s greatness and sweetness
[Chaitanya Charitamrita class on Madhya 8.76 at ISKCON, Denver, USA]
Transcription of Lecture Summary :
We talked about how this progression in devotion which is described over here… from santa rasa to vatsalya rasa, and santa rasa… the word rasa can mean emotion and rasa can also refer to relation or the prominent defining emotion in a relationship. So, bhakti rasa can be generically referred to emotion, but santa, dasya, vatsalya, sakhya rasas… these refer to the relationship… the mood of the relationship.
So, santa rasa is also exalted because there is complete detachment from matter and attachment to Lord, and next rasa- dasya rasa is where… it’s like one step above but it’s not just a step where you step and move on, it’s a step where there can be a house; the devotees can stay eternally in that rasa where they also have a desire to serve the Lord, and beyond that is sakhya where the devotees treat the Lord as a friend, as an equal, and in Vatsyalya it goes further and the devotees treat the Lord as if He is dependent on them. Now this is illusion but this is the illusion that intensifies devotion.
I talked about how the word Yogamaya is an oxymoron. Yoga is connection; Maya is disconnection. So, there is the illusion or the energy that puts us in illusion to intensify our connection with Krishna. So, that is Yogamaya. So, it is oxymoron… like it says, ‘Committing suicide is courageous cowardice.’
What is the purpose of Yogamaya? Krishna is God… does not delight in His Godhood. He wants to reciprocate the full gamut of relationships. For that purpose He subordinates knowledge of His supremacy so that love can be reciprocated un-independently.
We discussed how in knowing God there is the knowledge of His greatness and His sweetness. So, the knowledge of His greatness brings submission, knowledge of His sweetness brings affection. Knowing that somebody is a Prime Minister we feel like obeying, but knowing that this person is such a loving warm person… how they deal at home, we feel some warmth for them.
So, if there is only Knowledge of God… His greatness without His sweetness… then the relationship becomes very formal as happens in the abrahamic religions. On the other hand if we have knowledge of God’s greatness without sweetness then it becomes very sentimental as happened in general bhakti tradition in India where people treat God and His pastimes as just another source of entertainment.
So, when there is understanding of both His greatness and sweetness and the combination of affection and of submission and affection… is to transformation devotion, and that connection I talked about in conclusion… when the devotee is absorbed in the Lord, at that time the absorption is far more important with the factually correct perception.
So, whether Yasoda Mayi thinking that Krishna will die if I don’t feed Him, or it is Lord Caitanya thinking that this river itself is Yamuna… the important things is that both of them are absorbed in the reciprocation of love and thus we have the Bhagavat Gita which refers… very clearly differentiates between reality and illusion because of the identity of God. So, we have no ambiguity about that.
The Bhagavatam talks about the activity of God. Initially His activities in greatness as a creator, sustainer of the world, then His activity in sweetness in Vraja lila specially, and the Caitanya Caritamrita …3.45… with God.
Srila Prabhupada commented on all these books so that he could give us the whole gamut of wisdom that we need to rise from the basic human spiritual level to the exalted Gauria Vaisnava bhakti level, and by recognizing that there is this illusion in the world from which we need to come to reality, but beyond that there is a illusion in the spiritual world which intensifies devotion.
This background will help us to better appreciate the conjugal relationship with Krishna and the Gopis.
(Transcription by Sadananda Krishnaprema Prabhu)