Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s definitive treatise.
One Hundred Refutations of Mundane Rasa
Amongst the higher classes of humans in the world, there are three paths for travelling through the realm of belief in the afterlife. These are known as karma, jñān, and bhakti. The means for souls in the conditioned state to attain temporary enjoyable ends is known as the path of karma. Rejecting transcience and temporary provincial ends and enquiring into nondifferentiated spirit is known as the path of jñān. Transcendental to karma, jñān, and matter, endeavouring to please the rightful recipient of all service Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as the path of bhakti.
Between the means and the end on the path of bhakti, three stages are seen: sādhana, bhāva, and prema-bhakti. If we think that the bhāvas and prema of the end are practices that are part of the means, trouble arises. Deliverance from the hands of this hindrance is known as anartha-nivṛtti. The unprecedented and extraordinary Pastimes of Śrī Gaurasundar and the practices and teachings of the goswāmīs who were His assistants in His Pastimes are the basis of this composition.
Śrī Siddhānta Saraswatī
The purpose of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Prākṛta-rasa-śata-dūṣaṇī is to clarify the proper understanding and application of the science of rasa given by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu in his Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur wrote this treastise for an audience that is familiar with the key terms given in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, and thus he has not defined these terms within his composition. For readers who are not acquainted with these terms and their definitions as given by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, both an overview of them based on Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and a glossary are being presented here prior to Prākṛta-rasa-śata-dūṣaṇī. Furthermore, these key terms have for the most part been left untranslated throughout this rendering of Prākṛta-rasa-śata-dūṣaṇī so that readers can clearly see how Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur delineates their significance and proper application.
What is bhakti?
sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir uchyate
(Nārada-pañcharātra; Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 1.12)
“Bhakti is said to be service with the senses to the Lord of the senses that is dedicated to the Lord, unalloyed, and completely unconditional.”
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 1.11)
“Pure bhakti is constant endeavour to please Kṛṣṇa that is free from fleeting desires and unobstructed by exploitation and renunciation.”
What are the distinguishing characteristics of bhakti?
kleśa-ghnī śubhadā mokṣa-laghutā-kṛt sudurlabhā
sāndrānanda-viśeṣātmā śrī-kṛṣṇākarṣiṇī cha sā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 1.17)
“Bhakti (1) destroys all suffering, (2) bestows all good fortune, (3) belittles liberation, (4) is very difficult to attain, (5) is intensely joyful, and (6) attracts Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself.”
What are the stages of bhakti?
sā bhaktiḥ sādhanaṁ bhāvaḥ premā cheti tridhoditā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.1)
“Bhakti is said to have three stages: sādhana-bhakti, bhāva-bhakti, and prema-bhakti.
What is sādhana-bhakti?
kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā
nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.2)
“Action of the senses aimed at attaining bhāva is known as sādhana-bhakti. Such attainment is the manifestation within the heart of one’s perfected eternal nature.”
How many kinds of sādhana-bhakti are there?
vaidhī rāgānuga cheti sā dvidhā sādhanābhidhā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.5)
“There are two kinds of sādhana-bhakti: vaidhī and rāgānuga.”
What is vaidhī-bhakti?
yatra rāgānavāptatvāt pravṛttir upajāyate
śāsanenaiva śāstrasya sā vaidhī bhaktir uchyate
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.6)
“Sādhana-bhakti in which activity arises not from having developed rāga but from the regulations of the scriptures is called vaidhī-bhakti.”
What is rāga?
iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ paramāviṣṭatā bhavet
tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ sātra rāgātmikoditā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.270)
“Intense natural immersion in the object of one’s desire is called rāga. Devotion based on such rāga is called rāgātmikā-bhakti.”
What is rāgānugā-bhakti?
virājantīm abhivyaktāṁ vraja-vāsī-janādiṣu
rāgātmikām anusṛtā yā sā rāgānugochyate
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.268)
“Devotion that follows the rāgāmikā-bhakti beautifully manifest in the residents of Vraja is known as rāgānugā-bhakti.”
What is bhāva-bhakti?
ruchibhiś chitta-māsṛṇya-kṛd asau bhāva uchyate
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 3.1)
“Devotion that is completely pure in nature (a special composition of the Lord’s spiritual energy), resembles a ray of the sun of prema, and melts the heart with ruchi is called bhāva-bhakti.”
What are the characteristcs of bhāva-bhakti?
kṣāntir avyartha-kālatvaṁ viraktir māna-śunyatā
āśā-bandhaḥ samutkaṇṭhā nāma-gāne sadā ruchiḥ
āsaktis tad-guṇākhyāne prītis tad-vasati-sthale
ity ādayo ’nubhāvāḥ syur jāta-bhāvāṅkure jane
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 3.25–6)
“(1) Tolerance, (2) not wasting time, (3) detachment, (4) pridelessness, (5) hopefulness, (6) longing, (7) constant taste for chanting the Name, (8) attachment to discussion of the Lord’s qualities, and (9) fondness for the Lord’s abode—these and other qualities are present within those in whose hearts bhāva has sprouted.”
What is rati?
purāṇe nāṭya-śāstre cha dvayos tu rati-bhāvayoḥ
samānārthatayā hy atra dvayam aikyena lakṣitam
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 3.13)
“In the Purāṇas and the scriptures on drama, the words rati and bhāva have the same meaning. Here also (in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu), the two words are seen to be synonymous.”
What is prema?
bhāvaḥ sa eva sāndrātmā budhaiḥ premā nigadyate
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 4.1)
“Intense bhāva that completely melts the heart and is characterised by extreme loving possessiveness (of the Lord) is called prema by the wise.”
What are the stages in the awakenment of prema?
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo ’tha bhajana-kriyā
tato’nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt tato niṣṭhā ruchis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas tataḥ premābhyudañchati
sādhakānām ayaṁ premnaḥ prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 4.15–6)
“First śraddhā, then sādhu-saṅga, then bhajana-kriyā, then anartha-nivṛtti, then niṣṭhā, then ruchi, then āsakti, then bhāva, and then prema arise. These are the stages in a practitioner’s prema arising.”
What is śraddhā?
Faith in revealed truth produced by association with sādhus and both knowing and unknowing engagement in service to the Lord; faith that by serving Kṛṣṇa all duties and desires are fulfilled.
What is sādhu-saṅga?
Taking shelter at the feet of Śrī Guru and learning the process of service to the Lord under his guidance; asssociating with and serving the sādhus, those who adhere to truth.
What is bhajana-kriyā?
Engaging in practices of devotion, such as hearing, chanting, and worshipping, according to the instructions of Śrī Guru and the sādhus.
What is anartha-nivṛtti?
The gradual cessation of the four types of vices—(1) misconception, (2) desires for the mundane, (3) offences, and (4) weakness of heart.
What is niṣṭhā?
Constant engagement in the service of the Lord free from anarthas and distractions.
What is ruchi?
Genuine taste for the Lord and His service.
What is āsakti?
Attachment; natural ruchi for the Lord and His service.
What are bhāva and prema?
These have been defined above in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 3.1 and 4.1.
What is rasa?
vyatītya bhāvanā-vartma yaś chamatkāra-bhāra-bhūḥ
hṛdi sattvojjvale bāḍhaṁ svadate sa raso mataḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Dakṣiṇa-vibhāga, 5.132)
“That which is beyond the scope of thought, extremely wonderful, and most deeply relished in a heart shining with pure goodness is known as rasa.”
In further detail:
“That which surpasses all thought of its ingredients, is more wonderful than rati (bhāva-bhakti), and is most deeply relished in a heart made bright by a special manifestation of the Lord’s spiritual energy is known as rasa.”
Who is Kṛṣṇa?
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 1.1)
“Kṛṣṇa is the the personification of the supreme joy, the abode of all spiritual rasas.”
What is the Name?
nāma-chintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś chaitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto ‘bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.233)
“The Name of Kṛṣṇa is a wish-fulfilling jewel and an embodiment of spiritual rasa. The Name is complete, pure, eternally liberated, and non-different from whom He names.”
How is the Name revealed?
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.234)
“Although Kṛṣṇa’s Name, Form, Qualities, and Pastimes cannot be grasped by the material senses, they manifest themselves to the material senses in response to one’s inclination to serve.”
abhidheya: the means to the end; the practice of devotion, and mainly, the stage of sādhana-bhakti.
anarthas: misconceptions, desires for the mundane, offences, and weaknesses of heart.
anartha-nivṛtti: the gradual cessation of anarthas and development of niṣṭhā.
aprākṛta: lit. ‘not mundane’; supramundane, divine, spiritual; something part of, or related to, the highest plane of spiritual existence, the land of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes, which at times resembles the mundane world but is nevertheless ‘not mundane’.
aparādha: offence; an action that is contrary to the rules, principles, or mood of devotion to the Lord; an action that displeases the Lord; substandard worship.
āsakti: attachment; natural ruchi for the Lord and His service.
bhajana-kriyā: engaging in practices of devotion, such as hearing, chanting, and serving, according to the instructions of Śrī Guru and the sādhus.
bhakti: service to the Supreme Lord rendered solelym unconditionally, and constantly for His pleasure.
bhāva (bhāva-bhakti): devotion composed of the Lord’s spiritual energy (the samvit- and hlādinī-śaktis) that resembles a ray of the sun of prema-bhakti and melts the heart with ruchi; the second of the three stages of bhakti, following sādhana-bhakti and preceding prema-bhakti.
guru: lit. ‘heavy’; master, teacher; one who dispels darkness; the form the Supreme Lord assumes to distribute divine knowledge.
krama-patha: the gradual path; the path given by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (Pūrva-vibhāga, 4.15–6) for the development of prema-bhakti which contains nine general stages: śraddhā, sādhu-saṅga, bhajana-kriyā, anartha-nivṛtti, niṣṭhā, ruchi, āsakti, bhāva, and finally prema. Krama-patha also in some cases refers to the gradual process by which the Lord reveals Himself sequentially as His nāma, rūpa, guṇa, and then līlā—His Name, then His form, then His qualities, and finally His Pastimes.
nāma: lit. ‘name’; the Name of the Supreme Lord; the personal form of the Lord as His Name, nondifferent from the Lord Himself.
niṣṭhā: constant engagement in the service of the Lord free from anarthas.
prakṛti: material energy.
prākṛta: material, made of or based on material energy.
prayojan: the goal; the highest attainment: Śrī Kṛṣṇa-prema.
prema (prema-bhakti): divine love; extremely intense bhāva that completely melts the heart and produces intense feelings of loving possessiveness for the Lord.
rāga: intense natural immersion in the object of one’s desire, one’s worshippable master.
rāgānuga: a practitioner of rāgānugā-bhakti.
rāgānugā (rāgānugā-bhakti): devotion that follows the devotion of the residents of Vraja, whose devotion is based purely on rāga.
rasa: the inconceivable, wonderful taste within service to the Lord found in the hearts of pure devotees; rati (sthāyī-bhāva) brought into the heart by hearing, chanting, and other practices of devotion and nourished by vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas, and vyabhichārī-bhāvas.
rasika: a devotee in the stage of bhāva-bhakti or prema-bhakti who has genuine experience of rasa.
rati: a synonym for bhāva and sthāyī-bhāva.
ruchi: genuine taste for the Lord and His service that arises on the basis of niṣṭhā.
Rūpa (Śrī): Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, the author Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and the foremost authority on the science of rasa.
sādhaka: practitioner, esp. one engaged in the practice of sādhana-bhakti.
sādhana (sādhana-bhakti): engagement of the senses in devotional practices aimed at uncovering the eternal nature of the soul; the first of the three stages of bhakti, followed by bhāva-bhakti and prema-bhakti. (Brs: 1.2.2)
sādhu: one who is adherent to truth, that is, devoted to the Lord and His service.
sādhu-saṅga: association with and service to sādhus; taking shelter at the feet of Śrī Guru and being initiated and trained by Śrī Guru in service to the Lord and all that is dear to Him.
sahajiyāism: imitationism; imitating the behaviour of those who have rati and taste rasa and/or wrongly believing that one has rati and tastes rasa when in fact one does not.
sambandha-jñān: knowledge of the Supreme Lord, His energies, and their relationships; the foundation of the practice of devotion.
siddhānta: proper conclusions and conceptions; the essence of the teachings of the sādhus and scriptures.
śiṣya: a disciple, one who accepts discipline.
śraddhā: faith in revealed truth produced by association with sādhus; faith that by serving Kṛṣṇa all duties and desires are fulfilled.
sthāyī-bhāva: foundational rati for Kṛṣṇa, which has any one of five primary forms: śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya, and madhura [adoration, servitude, friendship, affectionate guardianship, and paramour love].
vaidhī: based on the regulations of the scriptures.
vaidhī-bhakti: sādhana-bhakti based on the regulations of the scriptures (rather than on rāga).