First Wave: Neutral Love of God


First Wave: Neutral Love of God


dhṛta-mugdha-rūpa-bhāro bhāgavatārpita-pṛthu-premā |
sa mayi sanātana-mūrtis tanotu puruṣottamas tuṣṭim ||3.1.1||

“May the Supreme Lord with eternal form, endowed with attractive beauty and abundant prema which He gives to the devotees, be pleased with me.”

Alternate translation:
“May Sanatana Gosvāmī, who bears the burden of the fool Rūpa, and who has great attachment to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, be pleased with me.”

rasāmṛtābdher bhāge’tra tṛtīye paścimābhidhe |
mukhyo bhakti-rasaḥ pañcavidhaḥ śāntādīr īryate ||3.1.2||

“In the third section of this book, called the Western Ocean of sweet rasa, the five types of primary rasa, beginning with śānta, are discussed.”

ato’tra pāñcavidhyena laharyaḥ pañca kīrtitāḥ |
athāmī pañca lakṣyante rasāḥ śāntādayaḥ kramāt ||3.1.3||

“In this Western Ocean, the five waves are named according to the five types of [primary] rasa. Thus the chapters are designated as the five [primary] rasas beginning with śānta, etc.”

tatra śānta-bhakti-rasaḥ—
vakṣyamāṇair vibhāvādyaiḥ śamināṃ svādyatāṃ gataḥ |
sthāyī śānti-ratir dhīraiḥ śānta-bhakti-rasaḥ smṛtaḥ ||3.1.4||

“If the sthāyī-bhāva called śanta-rati mixes with the elements of vibhāva and others that will now be described, and is relished by persons possessing śama [self-restraint], the wise call this śānta-bhakti-rasa.


“Generally these practitioners possess the happiness of impersonal Brahman, realizing it as the cause of everything. However, such impersonal happiness is dilute, whereas the happiness related to the Lord with form and qualities is intense.”


“The main cause of śānta-rasa arising in such persons is realization of the form of the Lord. The main cause of dāsya and other rasas appearing in the devotees is appreciation of the Lord’s attractive pastimes. Though this is also one factor in the śānta-bhakta’s realization, it is not the main factor.”


“According to the wise, the four-armed form of the Lord (viṣaya) and śānta-bhaktas (aśraya) are the ālambanas [of śānta-rasa].”


The four-armed form:
“The attractive four-armed form of the Lord, filled with bliss and dark blue in complexion, is an ocean in which the jīvas are the waves. If He is seen by the paramahaṃsa sages, their minds will leave the impersonal Brahman and become absorbed in all His qualities.”


“The ālambana (viṣaya) in śānta-rasa is the Lord with an eternal form of knowledge and bliss, most attractive to the ātmārāmas. He is the Paramātmā, the param brahman, free from all passions, tolerant, pure, sense-controlled, eternally fixed in spiritual form, who rewards even the enemies He kills, and who is greater than the whole universe.”


“The śānta-bhaktas are of two types: the ātmārāmas who have attained rati for Kṛṣṇa due to the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His dear devotees, and the performers of austerities who have developed firm faith in the path of bhakti (also by the mercy of the devotees).”


“The sages headed by Sanaka and Sananda are considered ātmārāmas. Because Sanaka and the other Kumāras are the main ātmārāma-śānta-bhaktas, their forms and bhakti will now be described.”


Their forms:
“The four Kumāras are children five years old, shining with effulgence, golden in complexion, and almost naked. They wander about together.”


Their bhakti:
“O Mukunda! Until we realized Your astonishing form of knowledge and bliss with the complexion of a new tamāla tree, we were absorbed in the indescribable Brahman beyond the senses and modes of material nature.”


“The practitioners of austerity are those who worship the Lord while practicing yukta-vairāgya without giving up the desire for liberation, since obstacles to bhakti are destroyed by attaining liberation.”


An example:
“When will I take pleasure in living in a cave or under a tree, wearing a kaupiṇa and eating simple roots and fruits, meditating in my heart on the effulgent form of knowledge and bliss called Mukunda, who gives liberation, in this way passing all my days and nights in a few seconds?”


“The performers of austerities, having received mercy from the devotees and ātmārāmas, hold the moon of bhāva called śānta in the sky of their hearts.”


“The learned say that the unique stimuli for śānta-rasa are hearing the principal Upaniṣads, living in a solitary place, the appearance of pure mental functions, contemplating the truth, putting emphasis on jñāna-śakti (the power of knowledge), visualizing the universal form, associating with jñāna-miṣra-bhaktas and discussing the Upaniṣads with similar persons.”


An example of hearing the Upaniṣads:
“Having entered the assembly of Brahmā and hearing the Upaniṣads, the nine Yogendras, learned in the Vedas, free from suffering, and with hair standing on end, then developed a great desire to meet the members of the Yadu dynasty.”



“The incomparable fragrance of tulasī at the feet of the Lord, the sound of the Lord’s conch, holy mountains, holy forests, holy places, the Gaṅgā, the temporary nature of things of this world, and the power of time to destroy everything are stimuli common for the dāsa-bhaktas as well as the śānta-bhaktas.”


The fragrance of tulasī, from the Third Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [3.15.43]:
“When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasī leaves from the toes of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead entered the nostrils of those sages, they experienced a change both in body and in mind, even though they were attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding.”


“Staring at the tip of the nose, behaving like a renunciate, walking while looking at the ground four meters ahead, showing the jñāna-mudrā (joining the thumb and forefingers together), absence of hatred even for the enemies of the Lord, lack of intense attachment for the devotees of the Lord, showing great regard for the final destruction of material bondage (siddhatā) and for living without the influence of the gross and subtle bodies, indifference, non-possessiveness, lack of false ego and silence are some of the special anubhāvas of a person in śānta-rasa.”


An example of glancing at the tip of the nose:
“The sage in front of us walks about while glancing at the tip of his nose, while raising and lowering his head. By this it appears that the Lord has entered into his steady heart.”


“The śīta-anubhāvas [described in BRS 2.2.3] and other anubhāvas that the śānta-bhakta shares with the dāsa-bhaktas and others are yawning, stretching the body, giving instructions to the devotees, offering obeisances to the Lord and reciting His praises.”


“O Yogīndra! Certainly the sun of bhāva must have risen in the sky of your heart, for your lotus mouth is now blossoming with a yawn.”


“In śānta-rasa all the sāttvika-bhāvas, such as standing of the hair on end, perspiration and shaking of the body occur, with the exception of fainting.”


Hair standing on end:
“The sound of the Pañcajanya conch agitated the hearts of the yogīs living in the mountain caves. It broke their samādhi and made their hair stand on end.”


“In the bodies of the yogīs devoid of false ego, the sāttvika-bhāvas manifest as jvalita, but not dīpta.” [see BRS 2.3.73-78]


“In śānta-rasa, the sañcāri-bhāvas such as nirveda, dhṛti, harṣa, mati, smṛti, autsukya, āveda, vitarka and others appear.”


Nirveda (self-disgust):
“Though Kṛṣṇa, Paramātmā Himself, the form of concentrated bliss resides in Dvārakā, I am so unfortunate! Thinking myself an ātmārāma, I have wasted so much time.”


“The sthāyī-bhāva in śānta-rasa is śānta-rati. It has two types: sama (ordinary) and sāndra (intense).”


“When I playfully revealed Myself to the yogī absorbed in asamprajñāta-samādhi, his body began to shake to the extreme.”


“In nirvikalpa-samādhi, after destroying all ignorance, I experienced complete bliss. But when I saw Kṛṣṇa directly, that bliss became thousands of times more concentrated.”


“There are two types of śānta-rasa: pārokṣya (invisible) and sākṣātkāra (visible).”


Hidden (the Lord is not presently visible):
“O lord of the sages! Tell me if my great austerities and my long practice of aṣṭaṅga-yoga will bear fruit? Will that param brahma in human form with the complexion of a new rain cloud ever appear before me and bring astonishment to my eyes?”


Another example:
“Now that I remember that effulgence that conquers the complexion of a new rain cloud, which I saw at Kurukṣetra at the time of the solar eclipse, my restless mind no longer experiences bliss in the impersonal Brahman as it did before.”


Seeing the Lord:
“O Bhagavān, because You are filled with more bliss than Brahman, being the Supreme Soul, and because I have experienced intense bliss from seeing You directly, what is the necessity of realizing the impersonal Brahman?”


Another example:
“One yogī, on hearing the sound of the king of conches, Pāñcajanya, suddenly became full of joy. Tears flowed from his eyes, his hairs stood on end, his head began to shake, his cloth fell on the ground, and he could no longer maintain his vows. Seeing the param brahman with dark complexion, in bliss he showed disregard for the impersonal Brahman by his speech.”


“If Kṛṣṇa is merciful to someone previously fixed in jñāna, that śānta-bhakta becomes elevated in rati for Kṛṣṇa.”


In the words of Bilvamaṅgala:
“Though I was respected by the followers of jñāna and worshiped by them on the throne of realizing the bliss of Brahman, I was forcibly made into a female servant (dāsī) by the crafty boyfriend of the cowherd women.”


“As in the case of Śukadeva, impressions of jñāna will slaken by the mercy of the Lord, and the person will attain the perfection of bliss in bhakti-rasa.”


“Because of the lack of an object of devotion in the state of śama, the experts in poetics do not consider śānta as a rasa. However in our opinion, because we accept śānta-rati for the Lord as the sthāyī-bhāva, this objection cannot be made (since the Lord is the object of devotion). The Lord says ‘Śama is having the intelligence fixed in Me.’ [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.19.36] Fixing the intelligence on the Lord cannot take place without the attainment of śānta-rati.”


Pure śānta according to Viṣṇu-dharmottara:
“The condition in which there is no happiness, no suffering, no hatred, no envy, and equality shown to all beings is known as śānta-rasa.”


“When those involved in dharma, charity and compassion (besides the tapasvīs) become completely devoid of being the doer, then become qualified for entering into the śānta-rasa.”


“The previous scholars have described many types of śānta-rasa, saying that dhṛti or nirveda can also be the sthāyī-bhāva of śānta-rasa.”

nirvedo viṣaye sthāyi tattva-jñānodbhavaḥ sa cet |
iṣṭāniṣṭa-viyogāpti-kṛtas tu vyabhicāry asau ||3.1.51||

“If nirveda (self-deprecation) arises from knowledge of the Absolute Truth, then it can be called a sthāyī-bhāva directed toward the Lord. But if it arises from deprivation of dear items or attainment of detested items, it is a vyabhicārī-bhāva.”

iti śrī-śrī-bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhau paścima-vibhāge
śānta-bhakti-rasa-laharī prathamā ||

“Thus ends the First Wave in the Western Ocean of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, concerning śānta-bhakti-rasa.”