Only True Rasa is Bhakti

Published: 11th September 2014 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2014 06:06 AM   |  A+A-


Vibhakti is separation and bhakti is union. It is only in the struggle of the separate in its search for some union that any movement of consciousness can be felt. Unconsciousness is the result of vibhakti and consciousness is the result of bhakti.

Rasa is nothing but a palpable movement from unconsciousness towards consciousness.

In fact the nava (nine) rasas, when it comes down to the level of societal interaction, are the reflected approaches roads to bhakti from different relational and emotional standpoints. And these rasas such as shrungaara (love), haasya (laughable, amusing), bheebhatsa (disgust),  adbhuta (wonder), veera (heroic), raudra (fierce), bhayaanaka (fearful), karuna (compassion) and shaanta (peace) are all human emotions resulting in a movement from separation to union.

These are but nine types of waves and when these waves subside, the calm and deep waters of bhakti can be felt. Diluted samples of these rasas play out in our worldly relations too. The worldly is, after all, only a subset of the divine. And similarly the worldly experience of rasa is a subset of the one and only rasa that is true -- and this is the bhakti-rasa.

In literary creative works, authors introduce the rasas to make the story interesting and captivating to an audience. And yet without the intent of a central union, the use of rasas will become an instrument only for entertainment. And there is no end to it. Because the more you  entertain the mind, the more it will ask for the same. And this is also a mild form of addiction and not much else. To effectively use the nava rasas in a natural and appropriate manner, and through it, string the reader’s awareness to his innermost self, is a tall task -- one that can only be met by a mahaakavi -- an accomplished poet.

If there is some tangible truth within one’s words and if it can touch your core, then such work can be considered to be of value. Else it may fall by the wayside like millions of works that are daily consigned to the dustbin of a forgotten past.

Rasaanubhava -- the experience of rasa -- is nothing but the touch of a bhaava (a release of a sense of feeling from the depths of your inner emotive self) that is beyond the material. It cannot be talked about; any word is violence and no true rasa can survive within a sphere of violence -- because true rasa is ahimsa. It is like a mystical vibrating column of soft light -- the moment you let loose the noise of your opinion on it, it disappears. The moment you make an effort to delineate its qualifications, you cast the shadow of the human ego on it and it disappears -- true  rasa must come effortlessly -- anaayaasena. The moment you try to touch it, it collapses at the very proximity of human minds. It is too gentle, too soft, too sacred to be bounded or touched. It is asprha (untouched).

The conditioned mind is opaque to this gentle touch. In school, one must ingest the rules. But what one must drink and digest must be more than the rules of verse -- it must be the nectar of life if a single memorable verse or sentence must flow through one’s work. No amount of grammar or metre or vocabulary can give it any lasting value. It is like trying to labour and deliver without becoming pregnant!

First we must become pregnant, then our expression will become pregnant, and then in due course a beautiful offspring will be produced. And in order for our words to become pregnant, no amount of going around the trees will do. You must experience union - you must experience bhakti! It is only then that a mysterious dimension of  depth will get attached to one’s words and do their work in their own way. It is not one’s work; it is the work of that experience, of the truth that it carries.

Words arise and fall. It is only that which is transmitted between the words that stays -- that invisible clear water like fluid is rasa -- and it is felt as a result of bhakti.

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