Shringara Rasanubhava

Program Type



“Moons and Junes and ferries wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing as you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all”
– Joni Mitchell

An Invitation to Immerse Oneself in the Enquiry

The Native Americans believe that we write songs about the things we yearn for the most and actually do not have! Their songs are about water. It is not just today that most popular songs are about love, it has been so for millennia: the love of Radha and Krishna, the love of Krishna the toddler that Yashoda felt, the songs of yearning when the loved one is separated, the love that Andal and Mira felt for their God and so on. The Indian languages have many words to separate the nuances of the shringAra rasa:
vAtsalyam, prem, muhabbat, ishq, kAdal, nesam, pAsam, anbu……

How do we invite love into ourselves?
How do we block it?
How do we search for it?
How do we mourn its loss?
How do we play with it?
How does love play with us?

The word love takes meanings that distract us from the context. Love for another human being could be one kind of love, but I love to fly kites or draw pictures too, and this is more like ‘my passion’. Physical attraction carries us in yet another direction.
Maybe we ask ourselves, “What is the distinction between attraction and love?”

In the common usage of the term “bhava” lies a whole different universe. The word “bhavana” in samskrutam means a mental state: one experiences an inner state of mind, and from that state of mind one expresses oneself to one’s world. This expression of love is not dependent on the external objects. Many expressions arise out of a “loving state of mind”. This then opens up many lines of exploration: prem, vAtsalyam, shradha, karuNa, bhakti and finally the Ananda that lies at the heart of the union of atma and parmatma.

This immersion is an invitation to enter into a contemplation about the universe of love, starting from an exploration of what is the universe of love and leading to a discovery of how to anchor oneself in an enduring sakhi bhava.

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