Sakhi-bhava vs anumodanam

Syamananda Prabhu mentioned that the last contribution of Nemi Maharaja is a rehash of Prema Prajoyanas postings. I haven’t mentioned Prema Prajoyans (PP) contribution much, because it was at that point things got beyond my head in this debate. It just became too deep. But now it seems the time has come to push through this barrier and look at this issue from both sides.

In Nemi Maharajas last posting he pretty much made two interesting statements:

  • That the primary rasa (sakhya bhava) does not disappear.
  • That PNS have a difference of service from the manjaris.

This is the main verse of the arguments:

atha priya-narma-sakhah—
ätyantika-rahasya-jnah sakhi-bhäva-samäsritah.
sarvebhyah pranayibhyo’sau priya-narma-sakho varah
sa gokule tu subalas tathä syäd arjunädayah.

“The priya-narma-sakhas are aware of Sri Krsna’s most confidential pastimes, having taken complete shelter of sakhi-bhava. They are the best among all the dear friends of Krsna. In Gokula, Subala and Arjuna are among the priya-narma-sakhas.” (Ujjvala-nilamani 2.13)

This verse is quoted as the evidence that the male mood of the priya-narma-sakhas gets covered by sakhi-bhava.  So how are we to understand the word sakhi-bhava? This is what KBM says on this:

When priya-narma-sakhas become absorbed in tadatmika-bhava with Srimati Radhika, they enter in madhurya-rasa because She is madhurya-rasa-siromani. They taste something of Her mahabhava. At that time, they have gopi-bhava. They completely lose their sakha mood and male identity, and experience tadatmya with Radhika like manjaris. This is tat-tad-bhava-icchamayi, nothing like a sambhogamayi relation with Sri Krsna KBM: They are unable to touch Srila Gurudevas heart

Prema Prayojana refers to this verse as evidence that we should not construe sakhi-bhava to mean madhurya-rasa:

Locana-rocani: sakhi-bhavah sri krsna-tat-preyasyoh paraspara-melaneccha tam samasrita iti tena tasya purusa-bhavascavrta iti bhavah. tad-anumodanam eva na tu tat sphrha sakhibhavad eva (Locana-rocani 2.13/15)

“The term ‘samasrita’ indicates that the priya-narma-sakhas’ male sentiment remains concealed by ‘sakhi-bhava.’ Here ‘sakhi-bhava’ means ‘the desire for Sri Krsna and his beloved to meet.’ The cause of this ‘sakhi-bhava’ is only approval of, or sympathy for, the gopis’ sentiments. It is not that the priya-narma-sakhas personally desire such sentiments for themselves.” (Locana-rocani 2.13 / 15)

From PPs side, this verse seem to be a claim that PNS doesn’t aspire for, or have manjari bhava. According to PP “sakhi-bhava is only approval of, or sympathy for, the gopis’ sentiments where he empasizes the word anumodanam. More specifically, this verse is used as a claim that pns have a desire for sambandhanuga-bhakti (familiar relationship which encapsulates dasya, sakhya and vatsalya rasa). KBM addresses this here:

Madhuro-bhava is sandhi and not samas. Here the word madhurah is visesan, the word bhava is visesya and the word bhavita is kriya. So it means that Subala-sakha is absorbed in madhura-bhava. This means Subala is not the doer but madhura-bhava is the doer. For this reason Subala is decorating the kunjas and also arranging the meetings between Radha and Krishna.This is not only anumodana but he is also absorbed in madhura-bhava and is tasting it.

So on the first disagreement “That the primary rasa (sakhya bhava) does not disappear.” The madhurya-rati side makes light of the usage of the work sakhi-bhava in Ujjvala-nilamani 2.13 and emphasizes anumodanam.

But, Narayana Maharaja himself emphasizes the words sakhi-bhava, when he writes about priya-narma sakhas in Bhakti rasamrta Sindhu bindu p.254:

The priyanarma-sakhas are superior in every way to the three other types of sakhas. They are engaged in extremely confidential services and are possessed of a very special bhava (sakhi-bhava). In other words they perform confidential services for the preyasis (lovers) of Sri Krishna, they assist Krishna in meeting with the preyasis and they desire to give pleasure to them. These include Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, Ujjvala and Madhuma∫gala. Of these Subala and Ujjvala are the best.

So no matter how one decide to interpret the word sakhi-bhava, one should be careful to take it lightly. In such a case one also have to consider if there is further ways to understand the word sakhi-bhava.

Their purusa-bhava (male mood) is covered by sakhi-bhava (Srila Jiva Goswami).

Radha-Krsna-ganoddesa-dipika,Laghu-bhaga 198:

Priya-narma-sakhas are sakhi-bhavabhavita:it means that they are not sambhoga-icha-mayi.

Maan (jealous anger): Priya-narma-sakhas are not separately tasting maan but through tadatma-bhava of Radhika.

Syamananda pointed this out in his comment:

“The priya narma sakhas are eligible for srngara-rasa to some extent.” (JD chapter 30, 625).
“His priya narma sakha, srngara-rasa himself, reigns splendidly, fully manifest in Vraja” (JD, chapter 34, pg 707). The meaning more clearly derived from the original Bengali and Gurudeva’s Hindi edition, is “The priya narma sakhas are the deity (murtiman) of srngara-rasa in Vraja.”


“Sakhya is also of two types: siddha sakhya and unnati-garbha sakhya. The characteristics of siddha sakhya are that rati, prema and pranaya are in a fixed unchangeable form. In unnatigarbha sakhya there is a sprout of vatsalya and kanta (madhurya) bhava… When sakhya rasa is nourished then it will become either vatsalya rasa or madhurya rasa.” (Premapradipa).


So priya narma sakhas go to madhurya rasa side, and
suhrt sakhas go to vatsalya rasa side.

The next barrier I will have to try to break is in regards to mixed moods which continues this discussion and PPs use of anumodanam which he rests much of his case upon. All I can say is that I’m trying, but I don’t think I have even scratched the surface of understanding.


2 thoughts on “Sakhi-bhava vs anumodanam

  1. Dear devotees,
    Dandavat Pranams.
    I read PP Nemi maharaja’s statements and found it hard to understand his point at all. it seems he has not bothered to carefully read the statements of KB Mandira. From the beginning we have stated “You should also note that anga-rasa (madhurya-rasa) is only accepted when it combines with angi-rasa (the sthäyi-bhäva of priya-narma-sakhä) to increase the relish of rasa; otherwise, its combination with another anga-rasa will be fruitless.” (Jaiva-dharma, chapter 30, page 630).” Angi means primary, the primary rasa of the pns is sakhya-rasa, but they are not only in sakhya-rasa, their bhava is sankulit, because it is mixed with anga rasa of madhurya-rasa. Nemi Maharaja wants to make it black and white, this or that, but we have clearly stated “Priya-narma-sakhas are a special category. They are serving Sri Sri Rädhä-Krishna both ways – in dasa’s and dasi’s mood. But they are neither dasa or dasi – they are priya-narma-sakhas.

  2. Dandavat pranams, Damodara Maharaja.

    I also had to read Nemi Maharajas statements very carefully, because I have had problems myself understanding how he can make the conclusions he draw from the same verses that he presents.

    Nemi Maharaja emphasizes the word anumodanam and downplays the sakhi-bhava of pns. In other words, Nemi Maharaja doesn’t accept the speciality (sakhi-bhava) of PNS, he doesn’t accept that they are kind of a special category. Which is why I drew forward from Gurudevas own book Bhakti rasamrta Sindhu bindu where Gurudeva emphasizes the word sakhi-bhava.

    If he would accept the word sakhi-bhava, then his arguments about pns not being rupanuga will unravel, and also his arguments on that only manjaris can taste madhurya-rasa. So of course he then has to emphasize the sakhya-bhava to strenghten his own arguments.

    In discussions like these devotees who truly want to progress has to side with siddhanta, so may be this is Krishnas way of testing us. Nemi Maharaja presents a good argument for those of us (myself included) that are not well versed in siddhanta and therefore have to work so much harder to untangle this if we really want to get to the heart of the issue. Those who don’t bother to really get into the siddhanta, have an excellent opportunity to not do so and instead just point to whatever argument that suits their impressions.

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