The concept of adhikāra

Rupa and Jiva Goswami take great pains to clearly distinguish between karma, jñāna and the bhakti mārga. Not understanding these distinctions can cause problems in the practice of uttama bhakti. Here we examine Jiva Goswami’s commentary on this point. We begin with Rupa Goswami’s writing in the Bhakti […]

The rāsa līlā is to be understood in its व्यंजना (vyañjanā) meaning. Part 2

An example where the primary meaning of scripture can be misleading is Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa līlā described in the Bhāgavatam. Here, there are references to intimate interactions between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, which appear sexual in nature in their primary meaning, no different from an ordinary book of romance. And yet, at the end […]

The rāsa līlā is to be understood in its व्यंजना (vyañjanā) meaning. Part 1

In Sanskrit kāvya, words have three kinds of meaning. Kavi-karṇapūra’s Alaṅkāra-kaustubha describes these meanings in detail 1. They are abhidhā-vṛtti, lakṣaṇā-vṛtti and vyañjanā-vṛtti. The meanings of these words are best understood through an example. Consider the words: gaṅgāyāṁ ghoṣaḥ. The abhidhā or primary meaning of these words is […]

Uttama bhaktas are very rare among both muktas and siddhas

Rupa Goswami quotes the following verse from the sixth canto of the भागवतम् in भक्तिरसामृत सिंधु 1.2.52: मुक्तानाम् अपि सिद्धानां नारायणपरायणः| सुदुर्लभः प्रशान्तात्मा कोटीषु अपि महामुनेः|| muktānām api siddhānāṁ nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇaḥ su-durlabhaḥ praśāntātmā koṭiṣv api mahā-mune Jiva Goswami helps us translate this verse by defining the terms in it. […]

The four type of devotees of the Gītā are not uttama bhaktas

Kṛṣṇa lists four types of devotees in the Bhagavad Gītā 7.16. Rupa Goswami examines Kṛṣṇa’s list in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, and explains that these devotees are not uttama bhaktas. Rupa Goswami writes: तत्र गीतादिषूक्तानां चतुर्णाम् अधिकारिणां मध्ये| Among the four adhikārīs in the Gītā verses, यस्मिन् भगवतः कृपा स्यात् तत्-प्रियस्य वा || […]

The difference between a paramparā and a pantha

When Rupa goswami describes the limbs of bhakti, he writes the first limb as: guru-pādāśrayas tasmāt kṛṣṇa-dīkṣādi-śikṣaṇam | Guru-pādāśraya means taking shelter of the guru. This is followed by kṛṣṇa-dīkṣā, which means taking the dīkṣā mantra from the guru. Next, one undergoes śikṣaṇam – one learns the scriptures systematically […]