Dear Krishna.com visitors and supporters, our prayers are with you and your loved ones right now. May you stay healthy and safe. May you always remember Krishna, especially in times like these. We've been posting lots of inspirational content on our Krishna.com Facebook page (please like the page to be notified), and we're working on updating this website with a new look. If you would like to support Krishna.com's missionary effort to spread Krishna consciousness for the benefit of all, please give a donation.

BG Chap 11 - The rasa experienced by Arjuna

Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa were sitting on the chariot when Kṛṣṇa showed His universal form. Others on the battlefield could not see this form, because Kṛṣṇa gave the vision only to Arjuna. Arjuna saw various parts of the universe which were variously composed of earth, gold and jewels in the body of the Lord. The universe appeared in small, medium and large forms. Arjuna experienced the rasa of adbhuta (astonishment) on seeing the form with a thousand heads, which he understood existed within Kṛṣṇa. Here Arjuna was inspired by the relationship of wonder, and in that wonder, although he was by nature very sober, calm and quiet, he became ecstatic, his hair stood up, and he began to offer his obeisances unto the Supreme Lord with folded hands. He was not, of course, afraid. He was affected by the wonders of the Supreme Lord. The immediate context is wonder; his natural loving friendship was overwhelmed by wonder, and thus he reacted in this way.

The Lord in this form is the ālambana (viṣaya) or object invoking rasa. In rasa there are five components: vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva, sañcārī-bhāva and sthāyi-bhāva. Vibhāva (preliminary factors) has two components: ālambana (persons involved—viṣaya, object of love and āśraya, the experiencer) and uddīpana (stimulant). When Arjuna looked at the Lord again and again, the gazing became the uddīpana, or instigation for rasa. Offering respects and folding hands are anubhāvas. Standing of hairs on end is the sāttvika bhāva. Mind overwhelmed by these elements, joy and steadiness are sañcārī bhāvas. By these four components, the fifth component, the sthāyi bhāva called viṣmaya became nourished, and the five together became adbhuta rasa.