The Most Perfect Thing: Divine Love (日本語も)


The Most Perfect Thing –
Divine Love

This is the final of three discussions explaining the essential principles of Indian philosophy – especially as developed by the Bhedābheda Vedānta School of Śrī Caitanya.

Our first dissuasion described the three entities that truly exist: individual consciousness (subjects), objects of consciousness, and the source of both subjects and objects. We admitted that consciousness is a light searching through various objects in the quest to find satisfaction and happiness. We realized that true satisfaction and happiness exists only as love. We find love in the subjects we are conscious of, but only in small degrees until we realize that the true goal of our search is the joy of sharing pure love with the ultimate subject.

Our second discussion described practical details of how to practice bhakti-yoga – the methodology for cultivating pure love of the ultimate subject, who is aptly named by nomenclature such as Krishna (“The All-Attractive”).

Now, we will describe divine love itself, the ultimate goal, the most perfect thing.

Definition of Love

Lets begin by reviewing Śrī Rūpa’s definition of love:

अन्याभिलाषिताशून्यं ज्ञानकर्माद्यनावृतम्। आनुकूल्येन कृष्णानुशीलनं भक्तिरुत्तमा ॥

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam;

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā.

“Topmost Love: Expression of affection towards the All-Attractive,
unhindered by philosophy or duty, and devoid of ulterior motive.”

Love is conceived as a feeling: affection.
Love is born as an action: an expression of that affection.

The ultimate target for these expressions is the ultimate being, the All-Attractive, Krishna. These expressions of affection are not generated or governed by anything like philosophy or duty. They are self-generating, self-ruling, absolute. The only factor motivating and governing such expressions is the affectionate desire to please the beloved, Śrī Krishna.

This all-powerful, self-manifesting entity – love – is the vehicle through which ānanda (bliss) expands and becomes tangible.

P-156Stages of Love

Love develops in three stages. We begin in a condition saturated by the antithesis of love: selfish lust. In this state we must make effort to cultivate pure, selfless love. The term for this stage is sādhana-bhakti. As these practices become deeper and more sincere we will more and more deeply experience the two hallmarks of sādhana-bhakti: eradication of distress (kleśa-ghnī), and acquisition of auspicious traits (śubha-dā).

The second stage dawns when love ceases to be an effort and begins to become a reality naturally present within our hearts. The term for this stage is bhāva-bhakti. When divine love begins to become a reality within us, we experience its two hallmarks. The first – disinterest in anything else, even liberation (mokṣa-laghutā-kṛta) – arises from the second: cognizance that we are becoming recipients of the rarest and most valuable thing in existence (sudūrlabhā).

The third stage begins when love completely saturates our soul and becomes the essence of our being. The term for this stage is prema-bhakti. This stage also has two hallmarks: It causes unprecedented, unimaginably intense ecstasy (sandrānanda-viśeṣātmā), and it is so limitlessly beautiful and attractive that even All-Attractive Krishna becomes attracted and subservient to it (śrī-kṛṣṇa-karṣiṇī).

Flavors of LoveDuring the first stage, love begins as a vague feeling and gradually becomes very specific and clear. The divine love realized in the second and third stages takes the form of a very clear and tangible personal relationship with Krishna. There are infinite flavors of divine love, and infinite varieties of relationships with Krishna, because there are infinite individuals. Still, its helpful to classify the flavors of loving relationships into five broad, main categories.

1. The Peace of Selflessness

The first, most fundamental quality of true love is that it is totally devoid of selfishness. Absence of selfishness is the most basic form of selflessness, just as absence of hate is the most basic form of love, or as absence of war is the most basic form of peace.

Śānta is the Sanskrit term for this type of love. Literally it means “at peace,” because when all selfishness is gone we feel at peace. Yogis who meditate upon the divine within themselves and within all things (paramātmā) can attain up to this level.

If, from this foundational absence of selfish desires, we develop selfless desires to please our beloved – then active personal relationships to him can begin. The remaining four categories represent four depths of personal relationship.

2. Indebtedness

Our beloved is the source of all beauty and joy in our lives, so we feel deeply indebted to him. The desire to express this feeling of indebtedness is the first budding of pure desire and the first of four types of active loving relationships.

Dāsya is the Sanskrit term for this type of love. Literally it means “servitude,” because the feeling of indebtedness makes us very humble and helpful, without desiring anything in return.

Those who worship the Supreme Person (bhagavān) can can dive to this depth of realization. There are depths beyond this, but they are inaccessible to those whose love centers on majestic forms of the Supreme. The intimate forms of love beyond indebtedness are open only to those who fall in love with intimate forms of the Supreme Person, especially the most intimate form, Śrī Krishna.

3. Companionship

Our divine beloved is much more than a source of power and authority, he is a person in the truest sense of the word. More than worship, a person wants companionship. If we deeply realize this, our sense of selfless indebtedness will carry us swiftly across the boundaries of formality and reverence and make us Krishna’s confidential companions: his peers, who play and joke with him. The desire to express our indebtedness manifests now as the desire to please him through friendship.

Sakhya is the Sanskrit term for this type of love. Literally, it means “friendship.” Those who develop this degree of divine love can become the young boys of Vṛndāvana, Krishna’s dearest, most confidential friends.

4. Protection

If our love can develop still deeper we will go beyond acting as Krishna’s peers and begin to act as his superiors. Sometimes Krishna’s cannot stop him from doing something unpleasant or difficult, those with very powerful love therefore experience superior, senior and parental towards Krishna. Such persons become Krishna’s elder friends, his aunts and uncles, his guardians, and his parents. Their desire to express their indebtedness manifests as the desire to protect him.

Vātsalya (Literally, “Calflike”) is the Sanskrit term for this type of love. It is so named because Cows are so maternally protective affection towards their calves.

5. Romance

If the desire to express our indebtedness escalates still further we reach the fullest level of loving relationship – the absolute intimacy of romance. In this relationship, we can joke and play like a friend, control and advise like a parent, and also directly delight all his senses.

There are several Sanskrit terms for this deepest stage of divine love. Mādhurya means “honey-sweet” and “intoxicating.” Śṛṇgāra means “passionate” and “sexual.” The meaning of these terms is obviously romantic. Ujjvala is another term for this category of love, which literally means “fully blossomed and brilliant.” It is so named because romance is the fullest expression of love.

Only the most intensely passionate divine lovers can access the extreme bliss of romantic love for All-Attractive Krishna. Those who do can hope to become the girls of Vṛndāvana, Krishna’s beloved girlfriends, the gopīs – the most ecstatically blissful of all living entities.

Rasa – The Ultimate Experience of Love

219934_10150551684770375_215886190374_17986780_2793392_o_thumb[10]Our specific love for Krishna is just the beginning of the ecstatic spiritual experience called prema-bhakti-rasa. Love is the ocean in which the ecstasy of rasa flows in endless waves.

The word rasa literally means “flavor” or “juice.” The idea is that everything has a certain taste in it – everything has some quality and quantity of unique, enjoyable flavor. Sports, music, movies, dancing, and eating – for example – each contain some enjoyable, essential flavor: rasa. But the greatest quantity and quality of rasa exists within affectionate relationships: making friendships, caring for children, falling in love, and so on. The rasa apparently present in things like sports, music, and so on merely reflects rasa of affection (and other emotions) expressed by the participants.

In our current reality, everything is inspired by a hunger for rasa. Our deeds always search for some experience that can fill a persistent emptiness within us. This is why deeds in this world are called karma – “work” which eventually becomes tiresome. In this sense our current reality is diametrically opposite to the reality we can enter through divine love. Emptiness and hunger never exist to motivate anything there. Instead every deed is a celebration, a festival expressing the surplus of rasa that endlessly overflows from the infinite fullness within us. That is why the activities within the realm of divine love are not known as karma, they are known as līlā, “festivity.”

By practicing divine love (bhakti-yoga / sādhana-bhakti) we will immediately improve our lives right now. If we practice with great dedication and sincerity, we can begin to experience the spiritual reality of rāsa-līlā, and eventually enter into it completely.


特にŚrī CaitanyaのBhedabheda Vedanta宗派において、これはインド哲学の本質的原則を伝える3つの議論の最後です。

最初の議論は、個人の意識(精神)、意識の対象(物質)、精神と物質の源、この3つの存在が本当に存在していることを説明しました。意識は満足や幸せを見つけることを追求して、さまざまな物質をとうして探している明かりだと認めました 私たちは本当の満足や幸せは唯一愛だけに存在するということを悟りました。私たちは自分が意識している事柄に愛を見いだしますが、本当の探求の目的は究極の話題である純粋な愛の喜びを分かち合うことだと悟るまでは、その愛はわずかなものでしかありません。

二番目の議論はどのようにBhakti Yoga (愛のヨーガ)を修練するかの実践的な詳細を説明しました。それは、学術的にみても適切であるKrishna(すべてを魅了するお方)と名付けられた究極のお方への純粋な愛を育む方法論です。Krishnaによって適切に名付けられた究極の話題である洗練された純粋な愛の方法論であるBhakti Yoga。



Śrī Rūpa の愛の定義を復習することから始めましょう。

अन्याभिलाषिताशून्यं ज्ञानकर्माद्यनावृतम्। आनुकूल्येन कृष्णानुशीलनं भक्तिरुत्तमा ॥

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam;

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā. 


愛は感情、愛情として考えられます。愛は愛情の表現の活動として生まれました。このような表現の究極の的は究極の生命であるすべてを魅了するお方、Krishnaです。このような愛情表現は、何か哲学や義務のようなものから発生もせず、左右されることもない。それらは、自分から湧き出るもので,自分がコントロールできる 絶対的なものです。そのような表現の動機とそれをコントロールする唯一の要因は、愛しいŚrī Krishnaを喜ばせる愛情の望みです。



愛は3段階で発展していきます。私たちは愛とは相反する、利己的な欲望によって飽和された状態から始まります。この段階では私たちは純粋な無欲の愛を 育成する努力をしなくてはなりません。この段階をsādhana-bhaktiといいます。より深く真剣にこの修練をするとsadhana-bhaktiの2つの特質を最深く体験することができます。2つの特質というのは、苦しみがなくなることと、(kleśa-ghnī) 吉兆な質を得ることです(śubha-dā).

2番目の段階は、愛を得るために努力しなくてもよくなった時、そして私たちの心の中にもともとあるものが現実になると、2番目の段階にいきます。この段階がbhāva-bhaktiといわれるものです。神聖な愛が自分の中で現実になり始めたら、2つの特質を体験するようになります 最初の特質は、たとえ解放であっても、すべてのことに興味がなくなることです。(mokṣa-laghutā-kṛta).2番目は、存在する者の中でも最もまれで価値のあるものの受領者だと言うことがわかるようになることです。(sudūrlabhā)

3番目の段階は、魂が完全に愛に浸され、愛が自分の存在の中で最も大切なものになったときにはじまります。この段階をPrema-bhaktiといいます。この段階にもまた2つの特質があります。それは何者にも比較出来ないほどの、想像を絶した強烈なエクスタシーを引き起こします。(sandrānanda-viśeṣātmā) そして限りなく美しく、すべてを魅了するクリシュナでさえそれに引かれ、仕えたくなるほど魅力的なものです。(śrī-kṛṣṇa-karṣiṇī).



1. 無欲の平和




2. 恩義



最高の人格(Bhagavān)を崇拝するものは、この深い悟りに入ることができます。これを超えた深いものがあります。でも、最高主の壮厳な姿を愛の対象とする人々には、近づきがたいものです。恩義を超えた親密な愛の形は、最高人格の親しみやすいお姿に愛に陥った人だけに開かれます。特に、一番親しみやすいお姿、Śrī Krishna。

3. 親密な関係



4. 保護

さらに愛を深めるとクリシュナと同等に活動することを超えて彼よりまさってるように行動し始めます。時々、何か難しいことや、気持ちのよくないことでもクリシュナがやめさせることができない時もあります。 ですから非常にパワフルな愛を持つ人は、クリシュナに対して、より優れているとか、年長者であるとか、親であるかのような体験をします。このような人はクリシュナの先輩の友人になり、叔母や叔父、保護者、両親になります。恩義を表したいという望みは、彼を保護する望みとして現れます。


5. 恋愛


この最も深い段階の神聖な愛にはいくつかのサンスクリットがあります。 Mādhuryaという意味は”密の甘さ””陶酔する” Śṛṇgāraとは”情熱的な”とか”セクシー”という意味です。これらの意味は明らかに恋愛感情です。 Ujjvalaは、この愛の種類の他のいいかたです。文字通り”満開に花が咲き、そして光り輝く”こう名付けたのは恋愛は完全な愛の現れだからです。


Rasa 究極の体験愛

Krishnaへの特有の愛はprema-bhakti-rasaと呼ばれる恍惚の精神的体験の始まりです。愛は, ラサのエクスタシーが、限りない波のように注ぎ込む大海です。

ラサという言葉そのものの意味は ’味わい””ジュース”という意味です。このアイディアはあらゆるものにはそれ特有の味わいがある、ユニークな質感や量、楽しませるような風味があるということです。例えば スポーツ、音楽、映画、踊り、そして食べること、、、、その一つ一つが喜ばすような、独特の味わい:ラサをもっています。 でも最も大量に、素晴らしい質のラサは、お互いを思う関係の中にあります。それは友人を作ったり、子供の世話をしたり、恋に陥ったりする関係です。ラサは、スポーツや音楽などのように、それに関わっている人がみせる愛情(その他の感情)が反映しているだけのように見えます。

ラサへの渇望によってすべてが起きているのが私たちの現状です。私たちの行動は、心の中にいつもある空虚さを満たしてくれるような体験をずっと探し求めています。ですからこの世界の行動をカルマと呼びます。 ”仕事” 結局は疲れてしまうもの。そういう意味で 私たちの現実は、神聖な愛をとうして入ることのできる現実と全く正反対です。むなしさや飢えから起きることは何もありません。むしろ、すべての行動は、私たちを無限に満たすものから絶え間なく溢れ出るラサのその流れを表す祝いであり、お祭りなのです。この神聖な愛の中での活動は、カルマとしてではなく、リーラ、”祝いの喜び”として知られているのはそのゆえんです。

神聖な愛(バクティーヨガ/サダナバクティー)を訓練することによって、私たちはすぐに今の人生を改善することでしょう。もし、私たちが 大きな決意と真剣さで修練するなら、精神的現実であるラサリーラを体験し始め、ついには完全にその中に入っていくことができます。


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