Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya: Part Two

By: webmaster on January 2020

Last month’s article, “Part One: Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya,” focused on the various categories of the Lord’s incarnations, descriptions of the yuga-avatāras, and the modes of worship in each yuga. It concluded with an introduction to this month’s article on the twofold purpose of the Lord’s appearance as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, the incarnation for the present age.

The desire of the Lord to appear in Kali-yuga as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya was born out of a twofold purpose: internally, to realize the highest pitch of transcendental love (mahābhāva) experienced only by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; and externally, to inaugurate the saṅkīrtana movement—the congregational chanting of the holy names—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

The Lord’s Internal Purpose

śrī-rādhāyāḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vā anayaivā-

svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ

saukhyaṁ cāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt

tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śacī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ


“Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.230]

When discussing the transcendental reciprocations between Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, two significant terms are often used, namely, viṣaya and āśraya. Viṣaya refers to Kṛṣṇa—the enjoyer, and āśraya to His devotees—the enjoyed.

Regarding viṣaya and āśraya, Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Lord Kṛṣṇa as saying:

“I am Kṛṣṇa, and I experience pleasure as the viṣaya. The pleasure enjoyed by Rādhārāṇī, the āśraya, is many times greater than the pleasure I feel.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.135, Purport]

Śrīla Prabhupāda continues by stating:

“Therefore, to feel the pleasure of the āśraya category, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 135, Purport]

The loving exchanges between the viṣaya and the āśraya are expressed in a variety of ways and are categorized under the headings of vibhāva (special ecstasy), anubhāva (subordinate ecstasy), sāttvika (natural ecstasy), vyabhicārī (transitory ecstasy), and sthāyi-bhāva (permanent ecstasy). These five are referred to as various waves of devotional ecstasy experienced by the Lord’s premī-bhaktas. The waves of ecstatic feelings at the highest crest are experienced exclusively by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

The above five stages of ecstasy are mentioned by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Sanātana Gosvāmī  in Madhya-līlā as follows:

vibhāva,[i] anubhāva,[ii] sāttvika,[iii] vyabhicārī[iv]

sthāyi-bhāva[v] ‘rasa’ haya ei cāri mili’

[Refer to the “Endnotes”]

“Permanent ecstasy becomes a more and more relishable transcendental mellow through the mixture of special ecstasy, subordinate ecstasy, natural ecstasy and transitory ecstasy.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 23.48]

These ecstasies are under the supervision of the hlādinī-śakti potency of the Lord

Hlādinī-śakti—Kṛṣṇa’s Internal Pleasure Potency

rādhikā hayena kṛṣṇera praṇaya-vikāra

svarūpa-śakti—‘hlādinī’ nāma yāṅhāra

“Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the transformation of Kṛṣṇa’s love. She is His internal energy called hlādinī.” [Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.59]

Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all energies, opulences, and expansions, etc. He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha—the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. From Him manifests three categories of energies (śaktis), namely, sandhinī, samvit, and hlādinī. Sandhinī is His aspect of eternal existence; samvit, His aspect of cognizance (or knowledge); and hlādinī, His aspect of bliss. These three energies are the nature of Balarāma (sandhinī-śakti), Kṛṣṇa (samvit-śakti), and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī (hlādinī-śakti).

Śrī Rādhā fulfills all the desires of Kṛṣṇa, and though they are essentially one, they have taken two forms to eternally enjoy the mellows of unlimited pastimes.

The three sections that follow are taken from the BBT’s[vi] Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, Chapter 4, Texts 122-268, which can be read online here. They address Kṛṣṇa's three desires to understand the glory of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s love.

At this point, we are stepping aside and not including any comments. This issue is meant as a synopsis for the study of the chapter only. We strongly encourage our readers to study the entire chapter including all purports. Hare Kṛṣṇa

Kṛṣṇa's First Desire

(To understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love)

rādhikāra bhāva-mūrti prabhura antara

sei bhāve sukha-duḥkha uṭhe nirantara

“The heart of Lord Caitanya is the image of Śrī Rādhikā’s emotions. Thus feelings of pleasure and pain arise constantly therein.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 106]

Texts 122-124: "I am the full spiritual truth and am made of full joy, but the love of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī drives Me mad. I do not know the strength of Rādhā's love, with which She always overwhelms Me. The love of Rādhikā is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil. Her prema makes Me dance various novel dances."

Text 125: "O my beloved friend Vṛndā, where are you coming from?" "I am coming from the feet of Śrī Hari." "Where is He?" "In the forest on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa." "What is He doing there?" "He is learning dancing." "Who is His master?" "Your image, Rādhā, revealing itself in every tree and creeper in every direction, is roaming like a skillful dancer, making Him dance behind."

Texts 126-130: "Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, She tastes ten million times more than Me by Her love. Just as I am the abode of all mutually contradictory characteristics, so Rādhā's love is always full of similar contradictions. Rādhā's love is all-pervading, leaving no room for expansion. But still it is expanding constantly. There is certainly nothing greater than Her love. But Her love is devoid of pride. That is the sign of its greatness. Nothing is purer than Her love. But its behavior is always perverse and crooked."

Text 131: "All glories to Rādhā's love for Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of the demon Mura! Although it is all-pervading, it tends to increase at every moment. Although it is important, it is devoid of pride. And although it is pure, it is always beset with duplicity."

Texts 132-135: "Śrī Rādhikā is the highest abode of that love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object of love is entitled. But the pleasure of Rādhā, the abode of that love, is ten million times greater. My mind races to taste the pleasure experienced by the abode, but I cannot taste it, even by My best efforts. How may I taste it? If sometime I can be the abode of that love, only then may I taste its joy."

Kṛṣṇa's Second Desire

 (To understand the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love)

Texts 138-145: "My sweetness is wonderful, infinite and full. No one in the three worlds can find its limit. Only Rādhikā, by the strength of Her love, tastes all the nectar of My sweetness. Although Rādhā's love is pure like a mirror, its purity increases at every moment. My sweetness also has no room for expansion, yet it shines before that mirror in newer and newer beauty. There is constant competition between My sweetness and the mirror of Rādhā's love. They both go on increasing, but neither knows defeat. My sweetness is always newer and newer. Devotees taste it according to their own respective love. If I see My sweetness in a mirror, I am tempted to taste it, but nevertheless I cannot. If I deliberate on a way to taste it, I find that I hanker for the position of Rādhikā."

Text 146: "Who manifests an abundance of sweetness greater than Mine, which has never been experienced before and which causes wonder to all? Alas, I Myself, My mind bewildered upon seeing this beauty, impetuously desire to enjoy it like Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī."

Kṛṣṇa's Third Desire

 (To understand the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love)

Texts 239-259: "All the world derives pleasure from Me. Is there anyone who can give Me pleasure? One who has a hundred times more qualities than Me could give pleasure to My mind. One more qualified than Me is impossible to find in the world. But in Rādhā alone I feel the presence of one who can give Me pleasure. Although My beauty defeats the beauty of ten million Cupids, although it is unequaled and unsurpassed, and although it gives pleasure to the three worlds, seeing Rādhārāṇī gives pleasure to My eyes. The vibration of My transcendental flute attracts the three worlds, but My ears are enchanted by the sweet words of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Although My body lends fragrance to the entire creation, the scent of Rādhārāṇī's limbs captivates My mind and heart. Although the entire creation is full of different tastes because of Me, I am charmed by the nectarean taste of the lips of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. And although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I am refreshed by the touch of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Thus although I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Śrī Rādhikā are My life and soul. In this way My affectionate feelings for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī may be understood, but on analysis I find them contradictory. My eyes are fully satisfied when I look upon Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but by looking upon Me, She becomes even more advanced in satisfaction. The flutelike murmur of the bamboos rubbing against one another steals Rādhārāṇī's consciousness, for She thinks it to be the sound of My flute. And She embraces a tamāla tree, mistaking it for Me.

Text 252: " 'I have gotten the embrace of Śrī Kṛṣṇa,' She thinks, 'so now My life is fulfilled.' Thus She remains immersed in pleasing Kṛṣṇa, taking the tree in Her arms.

Text 253: “When a favorable breeze carries to Her the fragrance of My body, She is blinded by love and tries to fly into that breeze. When She tastes the betel chewed by Me, She merges in an ocean of joy and forgets everything else. Even with hundreds of mouths I could not express the transcendental pleasure She derives from My association. Seeing the luster of Her complexion after Our pastimes together, I forget My own identity in happiness. The sage Bharata has said that the mellows of lover and beloved are equal. But he does not know the mellows of My Vṛndāvana. The happiness I feel when meeting Rādhārāṇī is a hundred times greater than the happiness I get from meeting others.

Text 259: " 'My dear auspicious Rādhārāṇī, Your body is the source of all beauty. Your red lips are softer than the sense of immortal sweetness, Your face bears the aroma of a lotus flower, Your sweet words defeat the vibrations of the cuckoo, and Your limbs are cooler than the pulp of sandalwood. All My transcendental senses are overwhelmed in ecstatic pleasure by tasting You, who are completely decorated by beautiful qualities.'

Text 260: " 'Her eyes are enchanted by the beauty of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Kaḿsa. Her body thrills in pleasure at His touch. Her ears are always attracted to His sweet voice, Her nostrils are enchanted by His fragrance, and Her tongue hankers for the nectar of His soft lips. She hangs down her lotuslike face, exercising self-control only by pretense, but She cannot help showing the external signs of Her spontaneous love for Lord Kṛṣṇa.' 

Texts 261-266: "Considering this, I can understand that some unknown mellow in Me controls the entire existence of My captivator, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. I am always eager to taste the joy that Rādhārāṇī derives from Me. In spite of various efforts, I have not been able to taste it. But My desire to relish that pleasure increases as I smell its sweetness. Formerly I appeared in the world to taste mellows, and I tasted the mellows of pure love in various ways. I taught devotional service that springs from the devotees' spontaneous love by demonstrating it with My pastimes. But these three desires of Mine were not satisfied, for one cannot enjoy them in a contrary position.

Texts 267-268: “Unless I accept the luster of the ecstatic love of Śrī Rādhikā, these three desires cannot be fulfilled. Therefore, assuming Rādhārāṇī's sentiments and bodily complexion, I shall descend to fulfill these three desires."

End of Part Two: “The Lord’s Internal Purpose”

(Next Month, Part Three: “The Lord’s External Purpose”)


[i] “The cause bringing about the tasting of love for Kṛṣṇa is called vibhāva. Vibhāva is divided into two categories—ālambana (support) and uddīpana (awakening).” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.51, Purport]

Ālambana is further divided into two: āśrayā (the shelter) and visaya (the object). The devotee, in whom the sthāyi-bhāva reposes, is the āśrayā (the shelter) of rasa. The Person towards whom the sthāyi-bhāva is directed is the viṣaya, (the object of rasa). In the realm of spiritual rasa, the object of worship is the viṣaya and the worshiper is the shelter, āśrayā. The qualities and characteristics of the object of worship are known as uddīpanas (stimuli). [Writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, Daśa-mūla-tattva, DMT 5: Śrī Kṛṣṇa—The Ocean of Devotional Rasa, The Ingredients of Ecstasy]

[ii] “In his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states that anubhāva can be divided into thirteen categories: (1) dancing, (2) rolling on the ground, (3) singing, (4) yelling, (5) jumping, (6) making loud noises, (7) yawning, (8) heavy breathing, (9) not caring for public opinion, (10) discharging saliva, (11) roaring laughter, (12) unsteadiness and (13) hiuping. These are the symptoms of anubhāva.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.180, Purport]

“The following is a list of the twelve different anubhāvas (external bodily symptoms of ectacsy): dancing, rolling on the ground, singing loudly, stretching the body, crying out loudly, yawning, breathing heavily, disregarding the presence of others, drooling, laughing madly, reeling in the head and belching.” [Writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, Daśa-mūla-tattva, DMT 5: Śrī Kṛṣṇa—The Ocean of Devotional Rasa, The Ingredients of Ecstasy]

[iii] “...the eight sattvika bhāvas (transformations in the body arising from the internal disturbance of the heart and prāṇa): becoming stunned, perspiration, horripilation, faltering of the voice, trembling, pallor, tears and devastation (fainting).” [Writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, Daśa-mūla-tattva, DMT 5: Śrī Kṛṣṇa—The Ocean of Devotional Rasa, The Ingredients of Ecstasy]

[iv] “The thirty-three vyabhicārī-bhāvas, bodily symptoms manifest in ecstatic love, are as follows: (1) nirveda, indifference; (2) viṣāda, moroseness; (3) dainya, meekness; (4) glāni, a feeling that one is in a faulty position; (5) śrama, fatigue; (6) mada, madness; (7) garva, pride; (8) śaṅkā, doubt; (9) trāsa, shock; (10) āvega, intense emotion; (11) unmāda, craziness; (12) apasmāra, forgetfulness; (13) vyādhi, disease; (14) moha, bewilderment; (15) mṛti, death; (16) ālasya, laziness; (17) jāḍya, invalidity; (18) vrīḍā, shame; (19) avahitthā, concealment; (20) smṛti, remembrance; (21) vitarka, argument; (22) cintā, contemplation; (23) mati, attention; (24) dhṛti, forbearance; (25) harṣa, jubilation; (26) autsukya, eagerness; (27) augrya, violence; (28) amarṣa, anger; (29) asūyā, jealousy; (30) cāpalya, impudence; (31) nidrā, sleep; (32) supti, deep sleep, and (33) prabodha, awakening.” [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 1167, Purport]

“There are, in all, thirty-three symptoms of vyabhicārī bhāva (overwhelming ecstatic love): [1] disappointment, [2] lamentation, [3] humility, [4] guilt, [5] fatigue, [6] intoxication, [7] pride, [8] doubt, [9] apprehension, [10] intense emotion, [11] madness, [12] forgetfulness, [13] disease, [14] confusion, [15] death, [16] laziness, [17] inertness, [18] bashfulness, [19] concealment, [20] remembrance, [21] argumentativeness, [22] anxiety, [23] thoughtfulness, [24] endurance, [25] happiness, [26] eagerness, [27] violence, [28] haughtiness, [29] envy, [30] impudence, [31] dizziness, [32] sleepiness and [33] alertness.” [Writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, Daśa-mūla-tattva, DMT 5: Śrī Kṛṣṇa—The Ocean of Devotional Rasa, The Ingredients of Ecstasy]

[v] “Rasa is created when rati has matured and produced sthāyi-bhāva.” [Writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākura, Daśa-mūla-tattva, DMT 5: Śrī Kṛṣṇa—The Ocean of Devotional Rasa, The Ingredients of Ecstasy]

[vi] His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. All rights reserved.

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