bhāva: dormant or absent?

There are two opposing views on where bhāva, the sādhya of sādhanā bhakti1, exists before it manifests in the heart (heart refers to the unconscious mind). One view is that bhāva is dormant in the heart, that is, it has been eternally present. This is the view in some modern […]

Śrī Rūpa defines sādhanā bhakti, Part II

The second line of the definition of साधना भक्ति given by Śrī Rūpa Goswami is as follows: नित्य सिद्धस्य भावस्य प्राकट्यम् हृदि साध्यता| nitya siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyam hṛdi sādhyatā sādhyatā means the manifestation of the nitya siddha bhāva in the heart. We will unpack each of the words here and […]

Śrī Rūpa defines sādhanā bhakti, Part I

There is a method to Śrī Rūpa Goswami’s presentation in the भक्तिरसामृत सिंधु which is borrowed from न्याय. It has three elements to it: उद्देश्य, लक्षण and परीक्षा. उद्देश्य means listing items, लक्षण means defining the items, and परीक्षा is testing the definition- that is explaining it in detail1. In the भक्तिरसामृत सिंधु […]

Cause and effect in uttamā bhakti

In Indian philosophy1, साधन (sādhana) and साध्य (sādhya) refer to cause and effect, or ingredient and product. Say for example, we are preparing soup. Before the soup comes into existence, only its separate ingredients exist – vegetables, tomatoes, some masala, water, salt etc.. Mixing the ingredients together and […]

Other equivalent definitions of uttamā bhakti

Rupa Goswami goes on to point out in his master piece भक्ति रसामृत सिंधु (Bhakti rasāmṛta sindhu) that उत्तमा भक्ति (uttamā bhakti) is also defined equivalently in other places in the scriptures. For example, there is the famous verse from नारद पंचरात्र: सर्वोपाधि विनिर्मुक्तम् तत्परत्वेन निर्मलम् हृषीकेन हृषिकेश […]

Śrī Rūpa Goswami defines uttamā bhakti, Part III

Continuing our discussion of the तटस्थ लक्षणम् (taṭastha lakṣaṇam) from a previous post, we now explore the words ज्ञान कर्माद्यनावृतम् (jñāna karmādy anāvṛtam) in this article. The word anāvṛtam means ‘not covered’, that is, uttamā bhakti is uncovered by jñāna and karma. Because the words jñāna and karma are in common usage these […]

Śrī Rūpa Goswami defines uttamā bhakti, Part II

In a previous post, we examined the definition of uttamā bhakti and saw that स्वरूप लक्षणम् (svarūpa lakṣaṇam) = अानुकूल्येन कृष्णानुशीलनम् (ānukulyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam) or the essence of uttamā bhakti = continuous favorable service to Kṛṣṇa or persons related to him. Here we examine the rest of the two qualifiers, […]

Śrī Rūpa Goswami defines uttamā bhakti, Part I

The genius of Śrī Rūpa Goswami (1489–1564) was to compose the book भक्ति रसामृत सिंधु (Bhakti rasāmṛta sindhu) which examines the psychology of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees. He starts the book with a definition of उत्तमा भक्ति (uttamā bhakti), which came to embody the essence of all the scriptures for the […]