The Search for Rasa

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the highest necessity of every living being.

raso vai saḥ
rasām hy evāyaṁ labdhvānandī bhavati
(Taittirīya-upaniṣad: 2.7)

[“He is rasa. Only by attaining rasa (Him) does one become joyful.”] 

After all, we want pure rasa, ānanda. That is our quest, and we are told that is to be found in the service of the rasa Himself. Rasa is a person, the Akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti. Everyone is in quest for rasa. So, the status of rasa is the highest. If we are a person, then we have subjective existence, and rasa has its supersubjective existence. He is a person. He is the Akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti. He is Kṛṣṇa. Rasa is Kṛṣṇa. There cannot be rasa in any other place but in Kṛṣṇa, the highest conception, the source. The fountainhead of all rasas of different type is only in Him. So, by nature of our construction, we are to search for Kṛṣṇa: Kṛṣṇānusandan. That will be the nature of a normal person here.

In the Vedānta-sūtra we find Brahma-jijñāsā: enquiry into the supreme cause of this world; search for the supreme cause.

yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante
yena jātāni jīvanti
yat prayanty abhisaṁviśanti
tad vijijñāsasva
tad brahmeti
(Taittirīya-upaniṣad: 3.1)

[“Seek to know that from which all beings arise, by which the created live, and into which the departed enter. That is Brahma.”] 

From where has everyone come? Where are they existing? How is their existence maintained? By whom? And ultimately, where does everyone enter after death? That is Brahma, the most fundamental plane wherefrom everything is springing up, remains, and then enters. Enquire into that prime cause, the all-accommodating, Brahma. Brahma means bṛhattama, the biggest thing, all-accommodating.

But Mahāprabhu and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam replaced Brahma-jijñāsā with Kṛṣṇānusandhan. Brahma-jijñāsā is a dry thing. It is only an exercise of your thinking faculty, a jugglery of reason. Leave that aside! Begin Kṛṣṇānusandhan: quench your heart’s thirst, try to fulfil the thirst of your heart. Kṛṣṇānusandhan means rasa-jijñāsā. Raso vai saḥ: He is rasa.

Things acquired by your reason won’t satisfy you. Jñān, knowledge, cannot really quench your thirst. Rasa, ānandam, is a separate thing. So, instead of Brahma-jijñāsā, accept Kṛṣṇānusandhan.

kāhā̐ mora prāṇanātha muralī-vadana
kāhā̐ kar kāhā̐ pāṅ vrajendra-nandana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 2.15)

[“Where is the flute player, the Lord of my heart? What can I do? Where will I find the prince of Vraja?”] 

This should be the way of our march, our slogan: “Where is Kṛṣṇa?”

vrajendra-nandana vinā phāṭe mora buka
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 2.16)

[“Without the prince of Vraja, my heart breaks.”] 

My real want has been discovered, and it is to get the service of Kṛṣṇa; it is not Brahma-jijñāsā nor Paramātmānusandhan. The yogīs try to enter into the details of the minutest part of the world. Aṇor aṇīyān (Ku: 1.2.20): what is controlling the whole from within? That is the object of the quest of the yogīs. What is controlling everything from within? Paramātma. The jñānīs’ search is: from where is everyone and everything coming, and by what is everything maintained, and again where does everything enter? What is that thing? That is Brahma. Devotees ask: what is the demand of my innermost heart? I want to satisfy, to quench, that. I do not care to know where I am and what is controlling everything; really I want to quench my thirst for rasa, for mādhurya, sweetness. This is the search for rasa, ānandam, beauty, charm, and not calculative knowledge or the Paramātma.

nahe gopī yogīśvara pada-kamala tomāra
dhyāna kari’ pāibe santoṣa
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 13.141)

The gopīs are saying to Kṛṣṇa in Kurukṣetra: “Anyhow, You want to control us by quoting scripture which is meant for the jñānīs and the yogīs, but we are not of that type. Please excuse us. You know it fully well that we are not of the type of the jñānīs and yogīs. We are servants. Service is our life. So, if You kindly manage to come within us and accept our service, then only may we be satisfied. There is no other alternative for us. So, if You would like to save us, then You must come in close connection with us and accept our hearty service to Yourself. That is the remedy. We have no other remedy. Of course, we hear what You are recommending, but that is outer ear exercise, something like that. It is not hitting the target, the real point.” This is kāhā̐ Kṛṣṇa Prāṇanātha [“Where is the Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of my heart?”], the search for rasa, not for knowledge, to know who is the controller of this world.

Kṛṣṇānusandhan: we are to search for Kṛṣṇa and also to teach others to come in the same camp. Don’t be misdirected. The proper direction of the śāstra is this. Mahāprabhu and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam have taught us what to beg for, what to pray for, what to want for. They have taught us: “You want this thing. Pray for this. If you beg, beg for this thing, not for any other thing.” Kṛṣṇānusandhan: we want nothing but Kṛṣṇa, nothing but Kṛṣṇa, even not Nārāyaṇ.

When the gopīs were wandering in search of Kṛṣṇa, to play a particular mood, Kṛṣṇa took the shape of Nārāyaṇ. The gopīs offered respect to Nārāyaṇ: “Oh, He is Nārāyaṇ. Yes, we respect You. We honour You, Nārāyaṇ. Please be gracious and grant our prayers that we may get the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By Your grace, we want the association of Kṛṣṇa, and not Nārāyaṇ.” When they found Nārāyaṇ, the gopīs give their namaskāram, outward respect and praise for Him, and requested that He be gracious and grant them the company, association, of Kṛṣṇa. So, the Vaiṣṇava, the students of Bhāgavatam, the followers of Mahāprabhu—their fate is sealed only to go in a particular direction in search of Kṛṣṇa. They won’t want anything other than Kṛṣṇa.


31 August 1981.