Sri Caitanya and Raganuga Bhakti

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In the present work Srila Adikesava (O.B.L. Kapoor) has given a succinct, precise and authoritative description of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhus contribution to Raganuga Bhakti and has set aside certain misunderstandings that prevail regarding sadhya (End) and sadhana (Means) in Raganuga Bhakti as preached by Mahaprabhu.

Chapter 1: Reasons For the Appearance of Sri Caitanya
Chapter 2: Vaidhi Bhakti
Chapter 3: Ragatmika Bhakti
Chapter 4: Raganuga Bhakti
Chapter 5: The transcendental body
Chapter 6: Manjari Bhava
Chapter 7: Astakalina-lila-smarana

O.B.L. Kapoor (Adikeshava Prabhu) was born in 1909, he had strong leanings towards the Advaitic philosophy of Sankara, in August 1931 he met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, who pulled him out of his Advaitic moorings and gave him Vaisnava initiation in Radhakunda at the time of his Vrajamandala-Parikrama in 1932. He later wrote several books, in English one of his most important contributions is "The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caitanya". The work was highly appreciated by Srila Prabhupada (ref. letter of 17 Sept 1974, Vrindavan)

The portion bellow is from Sri Caitanya and Raganuga Bhakti by O.B.L. Kapoor, chapter one, Reasons For the Appearance of Sri Caitanya - I. The logical Reason: The Dialectic of Rasa.

The Taittriya Upanisad describes Para-brahma as Rasa: raso vai sah (Taittriya, Ananda Valli.,7). Rasa is concentrated ananda or bliss. Ananda in its concentrated form assumes a figure. The figure is the figure of Sri Krsna. Ananda-brahma is the formless expansive glow of Para-brahma, just as moon-light is the formless expansive glow of moon. In Ananda-brahma, rasa is dormant, still and motionless. it is not rasa in the real sense. In Rasa-brahma or Sri Krsna, rasa is dynamic, restless, effulgent, ever-flowing and ever-growing. It is astonishingly new and relishable, passing every moment beyond itself to new levels of rasa-consciousness.

Krsna is both rasa and rasika. As rasa He is the highest thing to be relished, as rasika He is the greatest enjoyer of rasa. Rasa is dynamic, because it is the essence of love or prema. Love is never satisfied with itself. The more the love the more the longing for love. The dynamism of love makes Krsna lilamaya, which means that He desires to revel more and more in beatific pastimes of love. But this is not possible if Krsna remains the Supreme Being, Who enjoys His own rasa. Therefore he unity of rasa and rasika in Him bursts forth and blooms into the duality of Krsna and Radha. Krsna is personalized rasa, Radha is personalized bhava or pure and selfless love (prema) at its highest. Loving communion between the two generates higher and higher dimensions of rasa.

The development of unity into duality, however, is not a process in time. It is a logical development, a development that is indicative of a necessary and integral relationship between rasa and bhava. There is no rasa without bhava. Krsna as rasa is always qualified by bhava. Bhava or prema is the essence (sara-vrtti) of the Hladini-sakti or the bliss potency of Krsna. Halidini-sakti resides in Krsna in an abstract form and is responsible for His svarupananda or the bliss that is integral to His Self. it also assumes a form and resides outside in the shape of Radha to make Him realize yet higher dimensions of bliss. Krsna enjoys the bliss caused by Her prema a thousand times more than the bliss natural to His Self.

The duality of Radha and Krsna implies the duality of asraya (lover) and visaya (the object of love). Radha is the ideal asraya or lover and Krsna the ideal visaya or the sweetest object of love. The sweetness of madhurya of Krsna cannot be realized except through the eyes of love. Since Radhas love is the highest, Krsna in the sweetest form is realized by Radha. But both the love of Radha and the madhurya of Krsna are evergrowing. The intensity of the love of Radha sublimates the madhurya of Krsna and the madhurya of Krsna sublimates the love of Radha. There is, as it were, a race between the two. The race continues until both love and madhurya reach the highest stage. At this stage the highest type of bliss is experienced. the bliss is so sweet and intense that it obliterates the subject-object relationship. Both asraya and visaya lose consciousness of Themselves. Only the bliss conscousness remains. The bliss is svaramvedya, that is, it experiences itself.

Rupa Gosvami says that in this state love melts the minds of Radha and Krsna to such and extent that They virtually become one and perception of difference is not possible. This state of love relationship between Radha and Krsna is called prema-vilasa-vivarta. It is from the standpoint of this ecstatic state of Radha and Krsna that the ultimate reality Para-brahma is called rasa.

This union in love between Radha and Krsna, however, does not imply a monistic union, as does the Advaitic conception of formless Brahma or the Neo-Platonic concept of God as an experience, in which the loss of individuality of the devotee is complete and irrevocable. It is, as Jiva Gosvami explains, like the union between fire and a piece of iron. A piece of iron, when put ifor a long time in fire, becomes red hot like fire. Every part of it is animated by fire and acquires the characteristics of fire. Still iron remains iron and fire remains fire. Similarly both Krsna and Radha retain Their identity. They are so abosrbed in each others love and lost in each others thought that there is hardly any room in Their hearts for the thought of Themselves or anything else. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the personalized form of this union.

The dialiectic that leads to the emergency of Sri Caitanya is obvious. In Hegelian terminology it may be expressed thus: The rasa-brahma, or Krsna, as the unity of rasa and rasika is the thesis. The unity veers round to its opposite, the duality of Krsna and Radha as a necessary consequence of the dynamism inherent in it. Thus unity is negated by duality. But duality or difference is repugnant to the essential unity of Radha and Krsna. Therefore, both unity and difference are necessarily transcended and reconciled in a higher synthesis, which is neither unity nor difference, but an inconceivable unity in difference. This is Sri Caitanya.

Format: Hardbound
Details: Hardbound, 112 pages, dust jacket, size 14 x 22 x 1 cm.
Publisher: The Vaishnava Book Trust
Pub. Date: 1995

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