What is Jnana in Vaishnavas?
Since Dasya Bhava is the universal mood, it is an eternal asset of the Jeeva. But there is a conflict regarding the moods of Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya, are they practiced or are rather attained. Vaishnava scriptures and saints also accept that Moksha is attained by Jnana. But their Jnana has a special meaning. All entities, the entire cosmos, is the reflection of the Nitya Dham (eternal abode). Hence the Nitya Dhama is the source image of whatever that exists in this world. The realization of one’s eternal form in the Nitya Dham is meant by Jnana.
Attaining one’s spiritual form
In this regard, this episode from Shrimad Bhagavat Mahatmya of Skanda Puran is worth paying attention- After the departure of the Lord to his eternal abode, Vajranabha, the great grandson of Krishna, the son of Aniruddha along with the queens of Sri Krishna arrived in the bereft Mathura. When they had the darshan of Uddhava near Goverdhana, they got a chance to hear the Shrimad Bhagavatam from him. Shri Krishna appeared there along with his Nitya Dhama. At that time Vajranabha recognized his eternal position in the form of the Vajra symbol on the right foot of Sri Krishna. The wives of Sri Krishna too recognized their eternal positions in the Nitya Dham. As a consequence, they became obscure for this world and attained Bhagavat Dham.
(Skandha Purana, Vaishnava Khanda, Bhagavat Mahatmya- 3166-72) With this description we come to understand that a Bhava which is enforced is not eternal. Whatever your real form is in the Nitya Dhama, by the grace of Bhagavan you attain it. It is then genuine and effective too. Quite contrastingly, in the Shrimad Bhagavatam itself it is mentioned- यद् यद् धियात उरुगाय विभाव यन्ति तद् तद् वपुः प्रणयसे सदनुग्रहाय |Our body is mortal, but the body of Bhagavan is eternal, spiritual and not transient. Even in the Shrimad Bhagavat Gita, Bhagavan has said- ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् |As per the verse, there is freedom to adopt a bhava. If any mood (Bhava) towards the Lord is sincere, then Bhagavan certainly accepts it. The harmonious conclusion of both these viewpoints can only be that- an enforced Bhava becomes genuine only when it is in accordance with one’s eternal form in the Nitya Dham. I would not say anything in this regard.
The Various moods in devotees
I just got to hear a couplet, in which the composer overcome by loving moods sings- “I am your dog, Bind me with a rope on my neck and if I start going astray from you, then call me back.” I met a Sadhaka. His mood is of Vatsalya and he identifies as a Dasi of Nanda Bhavan. By the benign grace of Yashoda Maiya he gets to serve her Laal. This mood he accepts. A saint has a painting which he worships and contemplates on. It shows Shyamsundara and a calf sitting near him, Krishna is lovingly caressing his hands over it. The saint says- “I am that very calf.” In one manner, except a few handful of examples, most of the devotees with loving sentiments would be found adopting Sakhi Bhav. The audacity to say that the Lord wouldn’t accept this soulful devotee’s sentiments cannot be done in the wildest of dreams.
Are Sakhya and Vatslaya Bhava present in the Nitya Loka?
The only thing to say here is that due to no Samapradaya being present for Sakhya and Vatsalya Rasa, whatever diversification of literature took place in the Bhakti Shastras, Dasya and Madhurya were solely augmented. Dasya Bhava in Shri Ramunajacharaya’s Sampradaya and Madhurya Bhava in Shri Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Sampradaya have been explicitly portrayed. In Shri Vallabhacharaya’s Sampradaya, the Lords earthly pastimes and incarnations are deliberated upon, while the other Vaishnava Sampradayas are admirers of the Lord’s pastimes in his eternal abode. Whether it is the description of Vaikuntha or the Nitya Nikunja of Golok, on reading it feels like in the Nitya Dham there is such grandeur and opulence that Dasya Bhava rests in Madhurya Bhava, Dasi Bhava alone has precedence. If there is some little place, then it is for Vatsalya; but that too is extremely scarce and in the subordinate manner. It is as if Sakhya Bhava doesn’t exist there at all. Along with Bhagavan Narayana his Parshadas are present and absorbed in serving His lotus feet rests Bhagavati Shri. Be it Saket or Golok, there the servants and maid servants (Dasis) you can call them the friends of Sri Vaidehi or Sri Radha, they are present, and Sri Janaki or Sri Radha who are non-different from our Nitya Lokadheesh (The master of the eternal abode) Bhagavan are present. न आदि न अंत बिहार करैं दोऊ | As per this utterance, there is either unbroken timeless pleasure boating (Vihar) or opulence (Aishwarya). But if there aren’t any eternal pastimes of Vatsalya and Sakhya in the Nitya Lok, then why do the Bhakti Shastras ever consider Vatsalya bhava as a Sadhya Bhav, or the ultimate objective. What is the absolute relevance of these moods? If the world is a reflection of the Nitya Dham, then how could the moods of Vatsalya and Sakhya manifest in the living entities. During the course of the Lord’s earthly pastimes the eternal abode of the Lord manifests along with him, this is the conviction of all the Vaishnava Acharyas. On the earthy plane, the Lord displays both the moods of Vaatsalya and Sakhya. But, if these moods do not exist in the eternal abode, then what can we conclude about the slaying of the demons which manifested in Bhagavan’s earthly pastimes? In conclusion, devotees of the Lord do not differentiate between earthly and eternal pastimes. They look at all pastimes of Bhagavan as Nitya or eternal. Without Vatsalya, Madhurya cannot be complete. Even though the degree of Vatsalya is small, still there is presence of Vatsalya. Another thing is that I am not fit for this description. To describe Vatsalya you need a heart outpouring with mellows of love of a mother and father.
The crux of Golok Ek Parivar (Family of Golok)
In this book, the depth of Sakhya Rasa has not been revealed. This is the description of the family of Golok- the description of a brother or a Sakha’s family. Most certainly this can be a support to cultivate this mood and know what the positon of Sakhya Bhava in Golok is. The whole of Golok being limitless, is still one integrated family. Hence its description is not possible. Even from the outlook of describing one family, it is most incomplete because sister, her in-laws, the dear ones of the family, maternal relatives, also come within the family and here, they have not been discussed at all. Only Nanda Nandana Krishna makes such a piece of work possible. How much ever he has inspired me, this work has been documented. Here, the main goal was to bring Krishna’s contemplation and His remembrance to prominence, and in the contemplation of Nanda Tanaya can one feel fulfilled. The descriptions of other members was merely a means to bring his pastimes to expression.