6.Understanding Tad-bhavecchatmika bhakti

Tad-bhavecchatmika bhakti is defined as a type of devotion that is saturated with the desire to realize the fullness of the sweet mood which succeeds in winning the interest of the lover and his beloved, because it finds extreme joy in helping Radha and Krsna’s other leading ladies enjoy erotic dalliances with him and takes pleasure in seeing their fulfillment. This mood (bhava) is also called the mood of the girlfriends (sakhi-bhava).

Sakhi-bhava means unqualified love for the leading lady or yuthesvari. That love is without limit and is free from even the slightest touch of selfishness, to the extent that the sakhi thinks that the leading lady is dearer to her than her own life or her own self.

The essence of sakhi-bhava is trust, or visrambha, which Jiva Gosvamin has further defined as meaning a feeling of mutual identity.(Sri Jiva on BRS 3.3.106) As a result of maintaining this intimate trust, the sakhis are able to understand the nayika spontaneously, without her having to say anything, or make the slightest hint or gesture.

Kavi Karnapura has also defined the sakhi in the following way:
“Those who are dedicated with an untainted love, who feel happiness and distress in accordance with the moods of the nayika, and who are similar to her in age and temperament, and are thus able to know her heart, are called sakhis.”(AK 5.279)

Rupa Gosvamin’s definition is found in Ujjvala-nilamani:
Those who sincerely feel greater love for each other than they do for even themselves, who have intimate confidence in one another, and who are equal in age, dress, talent, beauty and temperament, are known as sakhis.(UN 7.70)

In the chapter treating the subject of the sakhi in the same book, Rupa writes:
The sakhis are the perfect expanders of the loving affairs and intrigues of the Divine Couple and are veritable treasure chests of the rare and valuable secret jewels of faith and trust.(UN 8.1)

The nayika’s mood is one of desiring to give pleasure to her lover (nayaka) by serving him with every limb of her own body. The sakhi’s mood is one of desiring especially for the union of the lover and his mistress, the nayaka and the nayika. The nayika is her friend and by giving her pleasure in this way, she achieves her own plenitude and perfection. This is the difference between the two types of gopis participating in the creation of erotic sacred rapture.

The worshipable object of srimati Radharani and the other leading lady-loves of the Lord is sri Krsna alone and no other. On the other hand, the sakhis have the feature of wanting to see Krsna with srimati Radharani (or some other nayika, as the case may be). As Narottama Das Thakur has put it, “My life and soul are the Divine Couple, Radha and Krsna.”

<strong>The purpose of this work is to explain sakhi-bhava specifically where the nayika is srimati Radharani.</strong>

From Manjari Swarupa Nirupana by Srila Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaj


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