Experience of Rasas

Question: I am trying to understand if a liberated jiva in the spiritual world is bereft of any aspect or Rasa of the Supreme lord. As per Sri Vaishnavism, a mukta jiva is all FIT to experience all rasas with the lord. To understand the Gaudiya concept better, I came across the Govinda bhasya…

Question: I am trying to understand if a liberated jiva in the spiritual world is bereft of any aspect or Rasa of the Supreme lord. As per Sri Vaishnavism, a mukta jiva is all FIT to experience all rasas with the lord.  To understand the Gaudiya concept better, I came across the Govinda bhasya. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana seems to talk about this in Govinda Bhasya  (tad-bhava-bhavitvadhikaranam, VS 3.3.56). The Adhikarana starts with a reference from Candogya and the commentator says:

“cchandata ubayavirodhad ity adibhyam darsitam

This means two features of the Lord (sweetness and opulence) are not incompatible with each other.

Answer: According to Sri Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and to Sri Jiva Gosvami in Sat Sandarbha, before a jiva enters into the spirtual world he/she attains sthayi bhava also called bhava bhakti, which leads to prema bhakti. Sthayi bhava means the permanent mood. This does not change in the spiritual world. There are five primary and seven secondary bhavas.

They do not accept that a mukta jiva experiences all the bhavas. In fact, in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu Sri Rupa Gosvami writes that some bhavas are not compatible and just do not get along together. For example dasya bhava and madhurya bhava are incompatible. A dasa would not and can not relish the intimate relation of Bhagavan with His consort. So is also the case with vatsalya and madhurya. How can parents feel happy to hear the bedroom exploits of their son?

Yatha avesha tatha pravesha: Whatever is the absorption while living as a sadhaka that is what you enter into.  Sri Krsna also says a similar thing in the verse yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajate ante kalevaram. This is the general principle. In any case a jiva can never taste all the sweetness and bliss of the Lord because it is unlimited.

Question: Thank you for the response. However I am unable to understand or accept that rasa of a jiva is adhyatmika or integral with a soul. If so, the jiva can not express any kind of relationship than that rasa. Then how does the jiva interact with other friends and relatives than the Lord?

Answer: May be you are not clear what rasa means. A wife has a relation with husband. How does she deal with the parents, brothers, sisters or husband? In the same way a devotee has a specific rasa with the Lord and deals with everyone else in relation to the Lord. It is a big family with Lord being the center.

Question: Also, this concept of a mukta jiva being stuck or limited to one experience contradicts the very definition of moksha bhogamatra samya. A mukta jiva should experience completely all aspects of the Lord. He becomes sarvajna as well.

Answer: No, we do not accept that in our philosophy. There is no need for it. Why does Yashoda have to know that Krishna is God? If she does, her vatsaly bhava will diminish. Even Krishna does not know that He is God when He is with Yashoda. Yogamaya covers them so that they can relish pure vatsalya.

Bhogamatra samya and sarvjna are used in a limited sense, at least in Chaitanya school. No one can have bhoga equal to Krsna, or be a sarvjna like him. In fact Krishna Himself does not know Himself fully because He is unlimited. How can anything unlimited be known fully? So the meaning of the word sarvjna has to be contracted even in case of Krishna.

Question: It is however logical to indicate that in one service, the rasa is contained with one aspect, like it is the same water that takes many forms. In fact Candogya says a mukta takes multiple forms to enjoy the Lord. However as per Govinda bhasya at least, there is no difference in the enjoyment of the muktas.

Answer: No, that is not true. How can a jiva who is atomic in size enjoy like the Lord?  That is akin to Advaitavada which claims that at the time of liberation you are Brahman. I cannot refer to any book at present but in the commentaries of Bhagavata these things are explained time and again.

Question: Thank you so much for the response. I agree I am not well versed in Rasa sastra. Which one should I read?

Regarding bhogamatra samya, at least Srila Baladeva agrees that the enjoyment is same unless there are other texts where he mentions about this.

Answer: First of all, there is no concept of material enjoyment for a devotee. A devotee wants to serve. That is the basic difference between a devotee and non-devotee, and the basic qualification to go to Vaikuntha. So even if it said that there is samya it has to be understood from a devotional point of view. Why does a devotee want bhoga samya? What is indicated is that the devotee is eligible to serve the Lord in all ways and in all forms. He has paripurna brahmanubhava from nitya niravadhya kainkaryam.

Sahitya Darpana is a good book to begin.

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