Love Beyond Love – Part 3

Continuation of the Commentary on Prīti Sandarbha (Anu 61) by Satyanarayana Dasa

Radha Krishna and Jiva Gosvami at RadhakundaFurther evidence that happiness and love are distinct entities is the fact that their opposites are also different. The opposite of happiness is misery, while the opposite of love is hate.

To help us still further understand the difference between happiness and love, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī points out that happiness is experienced only by the subject, not by the object. The person eating chocolate experiences happiness. The chocolate doesn’t. The chocolate-eater’s happiness is in no way dependent on the happiness of the chocolate. Love, however, is quite different. Both the lover and the beloved experience it, and it is entirely dependent upon pleasing the beloved. Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu also describes love in this way (2.1.16), stating that it exists in the lover (āśraya) and flows to the beloved (viṣaya), and this dynamic between the two is its sustenance (alambana).

Another interesting distinction between happiness and love is that happiness is mechanical and karmic, but love is natural and causeless, arising only from its own beneficence. That is, happiness has a simple cause-and-effect dynamic: A particular stimuli generates a particular effect; and the ability or inability to access that stimuli comes as a result of one’s good or bad fortune. Love, however, is without rhyme or reason, and appears simply by its own sweet will. One falls in love simply because the beloved inexplicably captivates one’s entire being.

Like love, hatred also includes the hater and the hated – but there is a difference which Sri Jiva explains via reference to grammar. Verbs that mean “to love” have the object of love in the seventh grammatical case, adhikaraṇa, indicating that the beloved is the fundamental basis of the action (i.e the beloved is the adhikarana, the substratum).

Generally, according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, a substratum is called āśraya and takes the seventh case. However, in case of prīti, the lover is also the āśraya of prīti, but does not take the seventh case. Rather, it is the viṣaya, or object of love, with takes the seventh case.

Otherwise, it would be like the consumer of chocolate who is the substrata of the resulting happiness. In love, the lover is the agent of love, and therefore takes the first grammatical case. For example, bhaktaḥ kṛṣṇe prīṇāṭī or bhaktaḥ kṛṣṇe prītiṁ karoti, “The devotee loves Kṛṣṇa.” The devotee is the lover, the āśraya of prīti, and is therefore expressed in the first grammatical case, as bhaktaḥ. Kṛṣṇa is the beloved, the viṣaya of prīti, and is therefore expressed in the seventh grammatical case, as kṛṣṇe.

Saying, “The devotee loves Kṛṣṇa” is similar to saying, “The lamp illuminates the room.” The lamp is the āśraya of light and the room is the viṣaya. The light flows from the lamp towards the room.

Similarly, verbs that mean “to hate” also have a subject (āśraya) of hatred and an object of hatred (viṣaya). However, the object of hatred is not expressed in the seventh case but in the second, which is called karma kāraka – the object of an action’s fruition. For example, bhaktaḥ kaṁsam dveṣṭi, “The devotee hates Kaṁsa.”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī explains the meaning of the second grammatical case. He says that every action has an agent, called karttā. The agent performs the action to achieve something. The thing the agent wants to achieve is called the karma, the object or fruition of the action. Thus, the verb (kriyā) is the means (sādhanā) to achieve the desirable, (śādhya, īpsītatama, or karma).

The various cases of a word vary depending on the type of voicing a statement uses, active or passive. Karttā takes the first case in active voice and third case in passive voice. Karma takes the second case in active voice and the first case in passive voice.

There are four means to gain the objective: by creation, modification, improvement, or attainment. An example of creation is a cook who prepares soup. Soup did not exist to begin with. It was created by using various vegetables, spices, and water. In case of modification, the object already exists and the agent modifies it. For example, the goldsmith makes a ring from gold. In case of improvement, the agent augments the value of an object. For example, we can add flavoring to drinking water. In case of attainment, the agent reaches a destination, for example, “Kṛṣṇa goes to Vṛndāvan.”

Verb roots are of two types, transitive (sakarmaka), and intransitive (akarmaka). The meaning of a root involves two things: an effort (vyāpāra) and the objective (phala). For example, when a cook prepares soup, the effort (vyāpāra) involves turning on the fire, putting a pot on it, putting vegetables, spices, water and other ingredients into the pot, stirring it, and finally taking the pot off the fire. The objective (phala) is that the vegetables become soft and integrated with the water and spices. The shelter of the effort is the agent, the cook in the present example. The shelter of the objective is the karma, the ingredients of the soup.

A transitive verb has, as described above, a separate shelter for the effort and the objective. An intransitive verb, however, has the effort and objective co-existing in the agent. For example, kṛṣṇa hasati (“Kṛṣṇa laughs”). Here Kṛṣṇa is the agent, and is the shelter of both the effort, laughing, and the objective, laughing.

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says that a transitive verb has an inherent causative suffix (ṇi), and intransitive verbs do not. With active voice we can say, “A cook prepares soup.” With passive voice, “Soup is prepared by the cook.” In a causative form, “The cook causes soup to be prepared.” Causative statements are not possible with intransitive verbs. For example, it is not possible to make a causative statement from “Kṛṣṇa laughs.” Laughing is not something that can be produced outside of the agent.

The root prī, “to love,” is an intransitive verb, although it appears to be transitive. This is why the object takes the seventh case, to act as the substrata of the verb. In Sanskrit, we cannot make a causative statement of the sentence, bhaktaḥ kṛṣṇe prīṇāṭī (“The devotee loves Kṛṣṇa”), as can be done with the sentence, pācakaḥ yūṣaṁ pācati (“The cook prepares soup”).

There is a deep implication behind this. Prīti is the intrinsic potency of Bhagavān. As will be explained later (Anuccheda 65), Bhagavān gives it to His devotee. This would not be conveyed properly if the beloved became the object of the verb (thus taking the second case), for this would convey that the agent (the devotee) is in full control of the prīti, and would make the prīti something that seems to be created or manifested entirely from the jīva. Some people do believe that prīti is manifest from the jīva, where it currently lies dormant. But if such were the case, then it would be fitting to express love with the beloved as the object of the verb, not as the substrata of it.

One may object: Prīti was described as a type of awareness, jñāna-viśeṣa. Awareness always has an object. So how can the verb “to love” have no object?

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī replies that the root prī is like the root cit, which also means “to be conscious or aware”, and which is well known to be intransitive. Roots which mean “to be awake or conscious” are considered to be intransitive.

The following śloka lists transitive roots:

lajjā-sattā-sthiti-jāgaraṇaṁ vṛddhi-kṣaya-bhaya-jīvita-maraṇam
narttana-nidrā-rodana-vāsāḥ spardhā-kampana-modana-hāsāḥ
śayana-krīḍā-ruci-diptyarthāḥ dhātava ete karmaṇi noktāḥ

Thus, the conclusion is that love is not something that can be created or caused. It happens or it does not happen, of its own will. It is self-existent (svayaṁ-siddha) in Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotees. From them, it descends into the heart of some fortunate living beings. This is stated in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā (BRS 1.2.2).

It is not a fruit that can be attained by following any injunction. The Veda has injunctions to perform yajña. This creates piety, which grants “heaven,” which is another way of saying “happiness.” Happiness, therefore, can be created.

(to be continued)

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Comments ( 4 )
  1. Hari-Syama Das

    Dear Babaji
    Dandavats. Hare Krsna

    Thank you for continuing to post this commentary as it is very thought provoking. My question is related to this paragraph:

    “Another interesting distinction between happiness and love is that happiness is mechanical and karmic, but love is natural and causeless, arising only from its own beneficence. That is, happiness has a simple cause-and-effect dynamic: A particular stimuli generates a particular effect; and the ability or inability to access that stimuli comes as a result of one’s good or bad fortune. Love, however, is without rhyme or reason, and appears simply by its own sweet will. One falls in love simply because the beloved inexplicably captivates one’s entire being.”

    I understand that here you are continuing to show the distinction between happiness and love. Since the happiness spoken of here is the material kind (one not borne from bhakti) then i assume we are discussing material love, which is basically a manifestation of raga. So how can it be said that love is “without rhyme or reason” and that it “appears by its own sweet will”, since material love manifests when one finds within his/her beloved all the qualities which he has previously appreciated and enjoyed in a partner (the particulars of their physical beauty, the way she talks or expresses themselves etc…) , and so those samskaras of having enjoyed those same qualities are reignited and one calls this “falling in love” in the material world.

    This to me also appears to be a manifestation of karma in one sense. Please resolve this doubt.

    Yours in service,
    Hari-Syama Das

    • Malatimanjari Post author

      Thank you. Babaji comments that this is are not about material love. We are discussing spiritual love. The whole discussion here is about priti, or spiritual love in relation to Krsna. There is no question of material live in Priti Sandarbha. Therefore the rest of your discussion also does not apply.

  2. Vāyu

    1. In this context it seems that happiness (sukha) is related to a non-reciprocal action and subjective perception. The chocolate cannot eat the person to feel happiness. The relationship is unidirectional.

    2. According to the grammatical rules, if within a non-devotional
    context I say: mātaḥ putre prīṇātī, “The mother loves her son”, who is the āśraya? To whom does the intrinsic potency belong?

    • Malatimanjari Post author

      2. The mother is the asarya. If it is about material love, then there is no question of intrinsic potency. That only refers to spiritual love, or bhakti.

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