First Wave: Laughing Ecstasy


First Wave: Laughing Ecstasy


hāsya-bhakti-rasākhyā prathama-laharī
bhakti-bhareṇa prītiṃ kalayann urarīkṛta-vrajāsaṅgaḥ |
tanutāṃ sanātanātmā bhagavān mayi sarvadā tuṣṭim ||4.1.1||

“May the Lord with eternal form who accepts Vraja as His eternal home, being merciful out of great affection for the devotee, be satisfied with me.”

Alternate translation:

“May the person called Sanātana Gosvāmī who, having great joy because of his devotion, was attached to living in the land of Vraja, be satisfied with me.”

rasāmṛtābdher bhāge’tra turīye tūttārābhidhe |
rasaḥ sapta-vidho gauṇo maitrī-vaira-sthitir mithaḥ ||4.1.2||
rasābhāsāś ca tenātra laharyo nava kīrtitāḥ |
prāg atrāniyatādhārāḥ kadācit kvāpy uditvarāḥ ||4.1.3||
gauṇā bhakti-rasāḥ sapta lekhyā hāsyādayaḥ kramāt ||4.1.4||

“In the fourth division of the sweet ocean of rasa, called the Northern Ocean, the seven secondary rasas, plus the mutually friendly and antagonistic rasas and rasābhāsa will be discussed in nine waves (chapters). Previously it was said that, unlike the primary rasas, these secondary rasas do not have fixed ālambana and appear occasionally in any of the persons with the primary rasas. The seven secondary rasas will be discussed in order starting with hāsya.”

bhaktānāṃ pañcadhoktānām eṣāṃ madhyata eva hi |
kvāpy ekaḥ kvāpy anekaś ca gauṇeṣv ālambano mataḥ ||4.1.5||

“These secondary rasas appear only within the five types of persons possessing the five types of sthātī-bhāva. Sometimes in a particular situation, one among these five type of persons may experience a particular secondary rasa, and at other times all of these types may experience a particular secondary rasa.”


“When hasya-rati is nourished by the presence of vibhāva and other elements
[of rasa], it is called hāsya-bhakti-rasa by the wise.”


“In hāsya-rasa, Kṛṣṇa and persons performing humorous actions directed toward Kṛṣṇa are the ālambana. The wise say that elders and the chief young children are usually the āśrayas of hāsya-rasa. In special circumstances, the chief personalities become the āśraya of this rasa.


Kṛṣṇa as ālambana:
“ ‘O mother! I will not go towards that frightful, old withered person! He will craftily put Me in his begging bag.’ When Nārada saw baby Kṛṣṇa say this with frightened eyes, though he tried to suppress his laughter, he could not.”


“A person whose actions [of laughter] are directed toward Kṛṣṇa is called tad- anvayī (person related to Kṛṣṇa).”


Devotee as ālambana:
“ ‘Open Your mouth. I will give You some yogurt mixed with sugar.’ Hearing the words of the old woman, Kṛṣṇa opened His tender lips, but she put a fresh flower into His mouth. Tasting the bitterness, He puckered His mouth. The young cowherd boys laughed loudly.”


Another example:
“O master of the sages! When I asked you to look at the hand of our dark- complexioned child, and to tell me if He will be the Lord of a million cows and have long life, why did you suddenly hide your laughing face completely with your beautiful cloth?”


“The uddīpanas for hāsya-rasa are the humorous words, clothing and behavior of Kṛṣṇa. The anubhāvas are quivering of the nose, lips and cheeks. The vyabhicārī-bhāvas are harṣa (jubilation), ālasya (sloth) and avahitthā (concealing oneself). The sthāyī-bhāva is hāsya-rati.”


“There are six types of hāsya-rati: smita, hasita, vihasa, avahasita, apahasita and atihasita. The first two appear in superiors (such as sages or confidential friends), the second two appear in persons of medium status (messengers or servants) and the third two appear in those of the lowest status (such as children).”


“The wise say that when there is special attraction in the vibhāva and other elements, the lower types of hāsya such as vihasya also appear in the superior persons.”


“When the teeth are not seen and the eyes and cheeks become joyful it is called smita (slight smile).”


An example:
“ ‘O strong brother! Because I stole some yogurt, the wicked old lady is chasing Me to tie Me up. Where can I go? Please protect Me quickly!’ Saying these words to His elder brother with choked voice, Kṛṣṇa fled in fear. Seeing this, the faces of the sages in the sky blossomed.”


“When teeth are slightly visible, it is called hasita (smile).”


An example:
“ ‘O mother! I am your son Abhimanyu. Kṛṣṇa is coming here wearing my clothes.’ Believing Kṛṣṇa’s words, Jaṭilā her eyes red with anger, began shouting and driving here real son from the yard, as he tried to say ‘Mother! Mother!’ The lips of Rādhā’s friends became gleaming white with the luster of their teeth.”


“When laughing sounds are heard and the teeth are visible it is called vihasita
(audible laughing).”


An example:
“ ‘My friends! Steal the thick yogurt. Why are you uselessly showing fear in this house? Jaṭilā is sleeping with loud breathing.’ When Kṛṣṇa said this, the old lady, only pretending to be sleeping, laughed audibly, showing her worn teeth.”


“When the nose swells and the eyes squint, it is called avahasita (intense laughter).”


An example:
“ ‘O son! How have Your two eyes become tainted with strong colors early in the morning? Why are You wearing Baladeva’s blue cloth?’ Hearing these words of Yaśodā, servants standing there could not suppress their laughter. Their eyes squinted and their noses swelled.”


“Laughter with tears in the eyes and shaking shoulders is called apahasita
(uncontrollable laughter).”


“Seeing the effulgent child of Vraja—Kṛṣṇa, who makes the devatās dance— dancing to the verses of an old lady, Nārada, with tears in his eyes and shaking shoulders, began to dance in an extraordinary fashion, turning the clouds white with his flashing white teeth.”


“Laughter combined with clapping the hands and bending the body is called atihasita (extreme laughter).”


An example:
“ ‘Old lady! Your skin is all wrinkled. You look like a monkey! The king of the monkeys (with wrinkled faces) has sent me to arrange your marriage to a suitable groom.’ Hearing this the old woman said, ‘By all these wrinkles, I have lost my intelligence. Thus I will not accept anyone but You as a groom, since You are the destroyer of demons (and the destroyer of wrinkles).’ Hearing Mukunda’s words, all the young boys began to clap their hands and laugh loudly.”


“If the person instigating hāsya is not directly discernable, that person can be understood by by the similarity of the vibhāva and other elements with other cases.”


“O Kuṭilā (sister of Abhimanyu)! Your breasts a long like beans! Your nostrils are like those of a female frog! Your eyes are like old turtles. Your lips are like coals. Your stomach is like a drum. Who is there in this world that is more beautiful than you? By the strength of your good works, only you, among all the beautiful women of Vraja, have withstood the attraction of the flute.”


“This hāsya-rasa, which manifests in madhura and other rasas, has been described in detail with many forms in the works of Bharata Muni and the work Nātāka-candrikā, in the section dealing with kaiṣikī-vṛtti (dramatic form suitable for love).”

iti śrī-śrī-bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhāv uttara-vibhāge
hāsya-bhakti-rasa-nirūpaṇe adbhuta-bhakti-rasa-laharī prathamā ||

“Thus ends the First Wave of the Northern Ocean of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, concerning hāsya-bhakti-rasa.”