Difference between Rasa and Tattwa

This is a very important topic on Bhakti. Generally when we discuss Bhakti we refer to Sastras but do not look at the practical side of how Sastras can be applied in “real” life and make it work for us. This topic of Rasa and Tattwa have to be dealt with objectively to see how these two aspects work to make us good devotees.

What is Tattwa?

Tattwa means the basis of a concept or the concept itself. For example if we take God as a subject or devotee as a subject, there is a tattwa attached to each. If we understand the concept of God , we say we understand the Bhagavat tattwa or we understand Bhakta Tattwa. For example Bhagawan has 6 characteristics immeasurably strong, beautiful,renowned,wealthy,knowledgeable and renounced. If we understand this we say we understand the fundamental “tattwa” of God

What is Rasa?

Rasa means a particular mellow or “higher mood”, that mood which is not mundane. We say the Lord is “Kripa sagar”, The word “Kripa” represents a quality of the Lord which represents an extension of Tattwa or the “Karuna tattwa”. But we find that although the Lord is non-partial we also say that Lord is particularly partial to his devotee. This appears to be an oxymoron. We may see that in certain cases ; the Lord may appear to be harsh to some devotees and may appear to be very kind to some devotees. However if we analyze both such transactions in depth ; we will find that “the Rasa” or mood of exchange of loving transactions will be different but basically the Lord is equally oriented towards both devotees. We say that there are 5 rasas namely santa,dasya,sakhya,vatsalya and madhurya. Now when Hiranyakashiyupu appeared , he invoked the “Veera rasa” of the Lord , which actually means that he served the Lord in a particular way. In terms of Tattwa , he too was a great devotee of the Lord because he served the Lord and entertained Him through combats however in terms of “Rasa” it is not conducive to serve the Lord in that “mood”.

For example Srimati Radharani is the same as Srimati Rukmanidevi and Srimati Satyabhama and Laxmidevi in terms of tattwa. However 

Srimati Radha rani is


the same as Srimati Rukmanidevi and Srimati Satyabhama and Laxmidevi 

in terms of Rasa.

because in terms of rasa vrindavana dhama is in madhurya rasa whereas Dwaraka and Vaikuntha are in successive lower rasas of aiswarya in that order.

When one is in Vaidhi Bhakti ; it is alright to understand tattwa because it  is the basis of Bhakti, but when one takes up Raganuga Bhajana under a “rasika devotee” who understand the transcendental moods , it is important to grasp the underlying moods of every aspect of Bhakti.

A practical example is this: A devotee of Srimati Radharani respects Srimati Satyabhama and the denizens of Vaikuntha and Dwaraka ; but in terms of association ; a raganuga devotee will strengthen his mood by associating with only the devotees of Srimati Radharani. He will avoid the company of the denizens of Vaikuntha and Dwaraka. This is not because he is “against” anyone , he realizes that the entire creation is from Srimati Radharani , however he/she is so attached to Srimati Radharani that no other is as dear to him/her than those things related to Srimati Radharani.  A typical example is Sri Hanuman. Hanumanji knows very well that Sri Krishna is Sri Rama himself , but Hanumanji prefers to associate with Sri Rama and not with Sri Krishna. Does this mean that Hanumanji sees differences? It just means that Hanumanji is in the dasya rasa of Sri Rama which is the basis of his Bhakti.

A Raganuga Bhakta ; always strives to develop “specific moods” in a very concentrated “narrow” manner so that the solidification of his mood occurs at the quickest possible time.This will also ensure that the spiritual body is formed fast. Raganuga devotees may also be seen as “narrow minded” as compared to the general devotee populace ; however a Raganuga devotee has only one business ; to connect with things suitable for developing “Radha Dasyam” and nothing else. Such moods have to be developed under the care of Sri Gurudeva . Sri Gurudeva is very merciful and it all depends on the “spiritual greed” that we develop towards the attainment of “Manjari Bhava” and submissively pose such questions to Sri Gurudeva in matters concerning Raganuga Bhakti.One can very easily develop these moods by praying to Gurudeva for attainment of these moods.

We should also not consider ourselves very low because once somebody is under the “care and shelter” of Sri Gurudeva , one becomes automatically qualified to attain these mood. Neverthless the “mood” of Trinadapi sunicena very naturally manifests in the personality of raganuga devotee , because such a devotee is under the direct care of Sri Gurudeva.

Rasa Sastras that help understanding Rasa are given below

  1. Sri Prema Bhakti Chandrika — Sri Narottam Thakhura Mahasaya
  2. The Saints of Vraja — OBL Kapoor
  3. Sri Madhurya Kadimbini — Sri Visvanatha Chakravarthy Thakura
  4. Sri Raga Vartma Candrika  — Sri Visvanatha Chakravarthy Thakura
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