Digging in to the “Higher Taste” Verse

viṣayāḥ means “objects of pleasure.” That’s the subject of the verse, the main topic.

vinivartante is a fascinating word. It has two prefixes. The root word is varta – “move towards.” Adding the first prefix makes it ni-varta, which means “not moving towards” (“moving away”). Adding the second prefix makes it vi-ni-varta which means “distinct from moving away”). So the whole word, vinivarta, means “unable to move away”

The phrase so far is viṣayā vinivartante: they are unable to move away from objects of pleasure.

nirāhārasya – the root word is āhāra which means “consuming” (like eating) Adding the prefix makes it nir-āhāra which means “not consuming.” The word nirāhārasya means “by not eating” but we are not just talking about food so lets say it like this, “by not partaking.”

The phrase so far is viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya: by not partaking of objects of pleasure, still they cannot move away from those objects.

In other words, by trying to restrict yourself from objects of pleasure, you still will not be able to forget about them and truly give them up.

The next word, dehinaḥ means “people” – specifically it means “those who have a body” – in other words “those who exist in this world.” So the whole thing so far means, People in this world can try not to partake of the objects of pleasure, but they will not be able to move away from those objects.

That’s the first half of the verse.

The next half starts like this:

rasa-varjam… rasa means “flavor” and specifically means the flavor within a sense object, the actual taste / experience that is pleasurable. varjam means “give up.” So this means, Give up the flavor.

api is an emphatic with an apologetic tone. “I’m sorry to say.”

asya means “of this.” So the whole verse so far says this: Unfortunately, we cannot give up objects of pleasure even if we try to, because we are addicted to their flavors. But if we could give up those flavors, we could give up the objects.

Now the question is, “how can I give up the flavor”

rasaḥ param – here is the famous phrase, “higher taste” – more literally, it means “supreme flavor”, “paramount flavor”

dṛṣtvā — “see” / “experience.”

nivartante – this is exactly the second word in the verse repeated, but without the second prefix. So indicates that the unsuccessful attempt first mentioned can become successful. nivartante means “move away.”

The phrase rasaḥ param dṛṣtvā nivartante means “they can move away by experiencing the supreme flavor.”

Unfortunately, we cannot give up objects of pleasure even if we try, because we are addicted to their flavors. But if we can experience the supreme flavor, we will naturally move away from them.

So what is this param-rasa?

Here are two pictures of it:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.19.11 Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.20.00

We need to be able to really deeply taste the true spiritual essence of what is going on in pictures like these. Therefore we need to chant deeply and carefully, affectionately read Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa.

Thus, here is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite persons:

To hell with the fools who conscientiously avoid hearing, chanting, and remembering the Lord’s rāsalīlā and other madhurya pastimes with the gopīs. They will never attain perfection. If I chance to encounter the likes of such imposter Vaishnavas, I will
close my ears to their philosophical absurdities, refuse to see their faces, and scorn the dismal air about their corpse-like material bodies.





(Gītā 2.59)