bhāva

The essence of bhakti rasa is wondrous happiness (camatkāri sukham)

Continuing from our previous discussion, kārikā 70, fifth ray of the Alankara Kaustubha is as follows:

bahir-antaḥ-karaṇayor vyāpārāntara-rodhakam | sva-kāraṇādi-saṁśleṣi camatkāri sukhaṁ rasaḥ ||

Rasa is a wondrous state of happiness, [which is experienced] together with its different causes like vibhāva, and in which all external and internal senses stop.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains the words camatkāri sukhaṁ or wondrous happiness as follows.

yathā bahir vastūnām anekeṣāṁ madhye kasyacit sarvotkṛṣṭādbhuta-vastuno darśanān netrasya camaktāro jāyate, tatra camatkāra-padārtho netrasya sphāratā-rūpaḥ, tathaivātrāpy antarvastūnāṁ madhye rasatā-daśāyāṁ kasyacid adbhuta-sukhasyānubhavāj jātācittasya sphārataiva camatkāraḥ

Translation: Just as there is wonder in the eye that beholds some most superior, amazing object among many external objects, [that is] the amazing object is the cause for the eye to dilate, in the same way, there is a dilation of the citta, [which is called] camatkāra, upon experience of some amazing happiness in the state of rasa [which is one state] among internal states.

This is a most interesting explanation of the state of rasa. When we see something amazing, then we become eager to consume it with our eyes. This may cause widening of our eyes as we seek to fully grasp the object with our eyes. In the same way, when one experiences the amazing happiness in the state of bhakti rasa, one’s heart expands. One’s mind becomes one with the vibhava etc., i.e. completely absorbed in it.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī further adds that the rasa sākṣātkāra or experience of rasa occurs together with awareness of the vibhāva etc., which is the meaning of the words sva-kāraṇādi-saṁśleṣi. The rasa is experienced as one state, and the components vibhāva etc. are not experienced separately. Viśvanātha gives the example of yogurt, which when mixed with sugar candy, black pepper, etc. gives a special taste, but its components are not tasted separately.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī notes that the happiness upon experience of rasa is millions of times more than the happiness upon experience of rati. In this state of rasa, the activities of the internal and external senses are stopped. This is because the heart or citta is fully focused on the experience of rasa, and is unavailable for receiving any stimulus from the senses. Thus, rasa is a state of samādhī. The person completely loses awareness of the external environment.


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