«The Search for Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful» (Chapter 13, part 2). Srila B. R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

This chapter as a reading, spoken by Sripad B.S. Tridandi Maharaj.

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The Search for Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful

by Srila B. R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Chapter 13
Reality the Beautiful
(part 2)


The Science of Rasa

Ramananda Raya explained that from there pure devotional service develops in a crude form, in a general way, and when it is more mature, it must take the shape of shanta, neutrality, dasya, servitorship, sakhya, friendship, vatsalya, paternal affection, and madhurya rasa, conjugal love. In shanta rasa, there is adherence, nishtha: one thinks, “I cannot withdraw myself from this consciousness of continuous submission to the Truth.”

Neutrality develops into dasya rasa, the desire to do some service. When a devotee is not satisfied by only sitting, showing loyalty to the Supreme Authority, he wants to be utilized by Him. He awaits the Lord’s order, praying that the Lord may give him some engagement. When a devotee has such deep penetration that he wants to be utilized in any way by the Lord, that is known as dasya rasa, or devotion in the mood of service. Then there is sakhya rasa: devotional service in friendship.


God the Friend

When, in dasya rasa, confidence is added to service, then it becomes a little superior. Generally old servants who are faithful become confidential servants, so when the confidential stage is added to service, it becomes sakhya rasa, or devotional service as a friend of the Lord. First there is nishtha, adherence, submission, then the devotee wants to be utilized for His satisfaction, then there is confidential utilization, and then it comes to friendly service, sakhya rasa. In Vaikuntha, where Lord Narayan is served in calculative devotion, only shanta rasa, dasya rasa, and half of sakhya rasa are seen. Full confidence is not possible there. Awe, reverence, splendor, grandeur, pomp, apprehension all these vanish when we develop a more confidential relationship with the Supreme Lord. At that time, the object of our worship or love changes in another way. Then from Vaikuntha, we feel attraction for Ayodhya, the divine abode of Lord Ramachandra, where there is neutrality, servitorship, and friendship with Vibishana and Sugriva. There, we can also trace vatsalya rasa, parental love of Godhead.


God the Son

In vatsalya rasa, confidence has developed to the peculiar stage in which the servitors think themselves promoted to the post of protecting the object of their veneration. Filial affection is also service. Although it seems that the parents are masters of the situation, controlling the Lord as their son, sometimes chastising and punishing Him, this is a superficial view. If we can enter into the depth of their service, we shall find an incomparable love of a most peculiar type. On the surface, they are engaged in punishing and rebuking the Lord; underground, they are full of interest for the welfare of the object of their service. Vatsalya, or parental love of Godhead, is a peculiar type of divine love. We see a very light type of vatsalya in Ayodhya, so it is almost ignored.


Mathura: The Krishna Conception

Rupa Goswami leaped from Vaikuntha to Mathura in one stride. In his Upadeshamrita (9), he writes:

vaikuṇṭhaj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād

“Mathura is superior to Vaikuntha because Lord Shri Krishna appeared there.”

It is there that everything is shown in a clear and substantial way. In Mathura we find the Krishna conception of Godhead. In one stride he has come from Vaikuntha to the Krishna conception, but Sanatan Goswami has filled up the gap. In his book, Brihad-bhagavatamritam, he says that on the way to Mathura there is Ayodhya, the spiritual kingdom of Lord Rama, and there we find sakhya and vatsalya rasa.

But Rupa Goswami goes to Mathura at once. He says, “Come to Mathura; here you will find sakhya and vatsalya rasa clearly visible. He has shown how sakhya rasa service is present there. The devotees there are playing with Krishna, sometimes climbing on His shoulders, and perhaps sometimes even giving Him a slap. But, although they may mix with Him in this way, their heart is full of a peculiar type of service attitude. That is the criterion: they may give up their lives a thousand times to take a thorn out of His sole. They can sacrifice themselves a thousand times for the slightest satisfaction of their friend. They consider Him a thousand times more valuable than their own life. In vatsalya rasa also, the criterion is similar: for the slightest interest of the object of their veneration they can give their lives millions of times. Such affection is found there.

And then, from vatsalya, it progresses to conjugal love (madhurya rasa), the all comprehensive rasa which includes adherence (shanta-nishtha), service (dasya), friendly confidence (sakhya), and parental love (vatsalya rasa). But the wholesale dedication of every atom of our existence for Krishna’s satisfaction is found in madhurya rasa, which includes all other rasas.


Conjugal Mellow

And madhurya rasa is more enhanced when it is couched in the form of parakiya, or paramour relationship. In parakiya rasa, the gopis risk everything for the service of Krishna. Parakiya rasa takes two forms: in one, there is no obligation of anything; the union may happen or may not happen. So, because their meeting is very rare, it becomes even sweeter. There is another kind of parakiya rasa: we are told that ordinary food is not palatable to Krishna, but when He takes food by stealing, that is more tasteful to Him. If we can follow this art, that may also be applied in the case of parakiya rasa. “I am deceiving the party, getting what I want. I am stealing the property of someone else.” That sort of posing becomes more tasteful to the subjective party.

And the dedicated party risks everything: their good name, society, future, and even the dictation of the religious scriptures. They take a wholesale risk, just as one time, when we were in Madras, the King of Jaipur gave some money for the construction of a temple. The money was sent to our head office in Calcutta. Out of 5,000 rupees, the first installment was 1,000 rupees, and the construction work was begun by sending a worker from our main center. Then, Madhava Maharaj and I were sent to Madras, where we heard that the king would soon come. In order to show him that some work had been done we raised the construction to some extent, so the king could be told, “Your money has been spent, and now the next installment is necessary.” In order to do this, we incurred a debt. We took a loan for bricks and other things and raised the construction to a higher level.

When we wrote this to our Guru Maharaja, we had some apprehension that he would chastise us: “Why have you taken this loan?” Instead of that, he gave us his appreciation: “You have risked your future in the service of Krishna. You have taken a loan, and that means you have to pay off that loan, so you have engaged your future energy in the service of Krishna. You will have to collect money and pay off the loan, so there is service with risk of the future.” The gopis consciously risked their future: “We have disobeyed our superior persons and the directions of the Vedas; what we do is neither approved by society, nor by the religious books. Our future is dark.” Still, they could not but serve Krishna.

So, vaikuṇṭhaj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād. Janito means vatsalya rasa and madhurya rasa in Vrindavan: rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ. In the madhurya rasa also, three groups are shown: Vrindavan in general, selected groups in Govardhana, and the highest group in Radha-kunda. All these things have been shown in the conversation between Ramananda Raya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Radha: Queen of the Gopis

After this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Go further.” Then, Ramananda Raya began to explain the kind of service rendered by Radharani in madhurya rasa. Her devotional service is categorically higher than that of all the other gopis. Rādhām ādhāya hṛdaye tatyāja vraja sundariḥ (Gita-govinda, 3.1, Jayadeva Goswami). The whole group of gopis can be canceled only for one: Shrimati Radharani. What peculiar type of service may come from Her? And Krishna, the Original Personality of Godhead (svayam rupa) is only by the side of Radharani. By the side of other gopis, that is prabhava prakasha, a plenary expansion; not svayam rupa, the original form. Such is the quality of Shrimati Radharani. We should show our highest reverence to this highest ideal of devotional service.


Radha-Krishna: Union in Separation

Then the last question came from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: “Can you think of anything more than this?” Then, Ramananda Raya said, “You asked me to quote scripture to support whatever I say, but here I won’t be able to quote scripture from anywhere. Still, I have a new feeling within me, and if You would like to know that, I can explain it to You.” In this way, one song was composed by Ramananda Raya. He introduced this song by saying, “Whether or not it will be pleasing to You, I do not know, but it seems to me that there is a stage which is even better than the meeting of Radha and Govinda.” There is a stage where both of Them, the positive and negative are combined, no individual consciousness is clear, and one is searching another in self-forgetfulness. This searching of one party by the other is very strong and intense. This seems to be a more highly elevated love: union in separation. Radha and Govinda are so intense in Their search of one another that even They have no consciousness of whether They have each other. Radharani sometimes experiences that even while Krishna is present before Her, She fears losing Him; that feeling becomes as intense as if She has lost Him. They are together, but the apprehension that one may lose the other makes their meeting intolerably painful, just as a mother is always alert about the safety of her son (aniṣṭā-saṅkīni bandhu-hṛdayāni bhavanti hi). A mother thinks, “Oh, my son is out is he in an accident?” This fear of separation is the symptom of deep love.


Shri Chaitanya Avatar

Ramananda Raya’s composition gave a hint about the divine appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in which both Radha and Govinda are combined, and it is as if they are unconscious of Their separate existence. One is searching the other, Krishna Himself is overflowing with the feelings of Radharani, and They are so deeply embraced that one is lost in the other. Then, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu put His palm over the mouth of Ramananda Raya, and told him, “No further.” Rasa-rāja mahā bhāva — dui eka rūpa[1]. Lord Shri Krishna is the fountainhead of all pleasure, and Shrimati Radharani is the embodiment of ecstatic love of Godhead. These two forms are united as one in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Rasaraja: Ecstasy Himself

Mahaprabhu replied, “Oh, because you are a cent percent devotee, wherever you cast your glance you see only Krishna; nothing else. The object of your interest is represented everywhere.” Ramananda Raya said, “My Lord, don’t deceive me in this way. You have come here so graciously to purify this mean person, and if You act diplomatically now, it will not look well for You. I won’t hear what You say; come out with Your real position. Who are You?” Mahaprabhu said, “By dint of your loving devotion, you can know everything in this world; nothing can be concealed from your loving eye.” Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena[2].

Then, Mahaprabhu revealed Himself: “When you see Me to be externally of a golden color, it is not so. It is by the touch of the color of Radharani. And who can Radharani touch and closely embrace? She will never touch anyone except Krishna. So, now you know who I am: Rasaraja ecstasy Himself, and Mahabhava the one who can taste that highest rasa. See how They mingle together!

Ramananda Raya fainted and fell flat on the floor. He could not keep his senses. Then by the touch of His hand, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again brought him to his senses. Ramananda returned to his previous stage of consciousness and saw a sannyasi sitting before him. After a short pause, Mahaprabhu said, “Remain here, I am going.”

Afterwards, Ramananda Raya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had some other talks, and Mahaprabhu said, “Ramananda, as long as I live I want your company.” Ramananda replied, “Yes, I must take shelter of Your Divine feet and live there for the rest of my life.” Ramananda later made arrangements with the King of Orissa to retire from his post as Governor of Madras and came to Jagannatha Puri. For almost two years, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered about the holy places of Southern and Western India and at last returned to Puri. There they again met.


Transcendental Madness

After this, Mahaprabhu went to Vrindavan through Bengal. Six years passed, and Advaita Prabhu almost gave leave to Mahaprabhu, saying, “Our pastimes of introducing the chanting of Hare Krishna are finished.” Then Mahaprabhu continuously showed Radharani’s mood of tasting Krishna-prema, ecstatic love of Krishna, for twelve years. Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, who are Lalita and Vishakha, the two principle gopi assistants of Radharani, were Mahaprabhu’s most important company during that time. There, so many things about the deep feelings of Divine love have been shown. It has never been found in the history of the world, or even expressed in any scripture how such intense love within can produce such corresponding symptoms on the surface. That was shown by Radharani and later shown by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

It was shown by Mahaprabhu in His practices also, how Krishna-prema, love of Krishna, can play a man like a doll. Sometimes His legs and hands would enter inconceivably into His body, and sometimes His joints would disconnect and His transcendental body would appear elongated. Sometimes His whole body would become white, and He would lay unconscious, breathing so slowly that His breath could not be traced. In this way, He exhibited many amazing symptoms of ecstasy.

Svarupa Damodara, the personal secretary of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has explained the meaning of His appearance in his memoirs, which were recorded in the Chaitanya Charitamrita of Kaviraja Goswami. He writes:

rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayam caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam[3]

Sometimes Radha and Krishna are combined; sometimes They are separate. They are separate in Dvapara-yuga, and in Kali-yuga they are combined as Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both are eternal expressions of the same Absolute Truth. Summer, autumn, winter, and spring continue in a cyclic order; it cannot be said that summer is the beginning and winter comes later. So, the pastimes of Shri Radha and Krishna are eternally being enacted. In ancient times, sometimes Radha and Krishna divided Themselves and showed Their pastimes; again both of Them, the potency and the owner of the potency, are combined and closely embraced as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The predominating and the predominated moiety are mixed, and an extraordinary ecstatic feeling is there. Krishna is overpowered by His potency, and He Himself is searching after His own Self: kṛṣṇasya ātmānusandhana. Krishna Himself is engaged in the search for Shri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful. The influence of Radharani over Krishna has transformed Him into a devotee, and He is searching Himself. Sweetness is tasting Itself and becoming mad. And it is living sweetness; not dead or static, but dynamic ecstasy sweetness endowed with life. And He is tasting Himself, the personification of happiness, ecstasy, and beauty, and dancing in madness, and His performance of kirtana means distributing that ecstasy to others. The ultimate sweetness, or ananda, is such that no other thing exists that can taste itself and express its own happiness with such intensity. I have described Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Prema-Dhama-Deva-stotram [66]:

ātma-siddha-sāva līla-pūrṇa-saukhya-lakṣanaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam-eva naumi gaura-sundaram

“The highest conception of the Absolute Truth must also be the highest form of ananda, ecstasy. Mahaprabhu’s dancing indicates that He is full of ecstasy, and His kirtana is distribution of that rasa. So, if we scientifically search out who Mahaprabhu is, we cannot but find that He is the Ultimate Reality. He is mad in tasting His own internal nectar, and His dancing is the outcome of His transcendental ecstasy. And He is chanting, distributing that to others. So, studying quite closely the character of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we cannot but think that He is the Supreme Absolute Truth, in its fullest, and most dynamic expression.”

End of “The Search for Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful”
by His Divine Grace Swami B. R. Sridhar

(part 1)


[1] Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 8.282.

[2] Brahma-samhita, 5.38.

[3] Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 1.5.


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