The divine element of love and its essence

Pure and eternal love is the main ingredient of the eternal pastimes of Sri Kunjbihari and Kunjbiharini in the divine land of eternal Vrindavan. This love binds the divine couple, sakhis and Vrindavan in a pure eternal bond which is ever increasing and gives them immeasurable and indescribable pleasure. In this endless ocean of nectar of love, the pleasure and happiness never ends.

The divine couple and the sakhis are never satiated and are always cherishing the pure eternal bliss. When this wave of love touches one sakhi it gets passed on to another one including the Yamuna river, divine groves, trees , birds etc who are all sakhis but have taken different forms to give joy to the divine couple. The whole Vrindavan dances in its glory. All sakhis are always ready to serve Shyama Shyam and provide them pleasure of infinite kinds. The very same wave of love takes birth in the hearts of the divine couple and increases their thirst for the divine pastime/sport. It is pure joy that encircles the whole Vrindavan and everyone experiences it in one way or the other and all of them become ONE.

The only way to achieve this glory of eternal love is through implicit belief and emotions. Total surrender unto the lotus feet of Swamiji is the easiest way of reaching this coveted eternal state where with his blessings a devotee becomes one with him. The source of Bhakti is prem and bhaav (implicit belief, feelings and emotions). Hence it becomes very important to understand ones nature of belief and emotions or bhaav. Love is the only element unto which both God and devotee surrender unconditionally. In Nitya Vihar everything is love personified including the divine couple and the sakhis.

‘Nikunj Leela’ describes and exemplifies Madhurya Ras vividly, which cannot be seen elsewhere. Madhurya Ras can be experienced in two ways :

  1. In union
  2. In separation (Gopi bhaav)

Scriptures provide many relationships depicting love in the above mentioned conditions.

Swami Haridasji disclosed to the pure devotees the grave secrets of the eternal play between Shyama Shyam. His teachings revolve around RAS (Nectar/Pleasure) of pure love. Rasiks meditate upon this ‘ras’ and have undivided bhaav towards their very dear divine Shyama Shyam.
The basic element that binds the four ras forms in Nikunj (Priya, Pritam, Sakhis and Vrindavan) is pure, unconditional love where they do not desire anything for themselves. Though their physical appearances are different, but all of them are ONE and are made of same element ‘love’. They have taken different forms to increase the love and attraction and make conditions/environment conducive for the love to flourish.
Once a devotee steps in the Nikunj Ras Leela, it is just impossible to retreat. The taste of this nectar of devotion is so sweet and exclusive that all other things seem tasteless in its comparison. This path is not achieved by doing sadhana (practices) alone but is totally dependent on the kripa (blessings) of the rasik devotees, teachers and gurus.
On the path of pure love, mukti is an obstacle. Hence in this upasana (form of worship) mukti is never aspired for. Instead to serve and see Shyama Shayam continuously without any obstacle is the prime goal of rasiks. Devotees who desire and work for mukti are not suitable and hence do not qualify for this exclusive Nikunj Leela.When one surrenders his false ego unto Sri Hari, he gets liberated from the cause and effect of all his karmas. Sri Swami Haridas ji refers to this world as the 'play of Hari'. When He dsires to play, He becomes many from one and one from many. From His one kala, pratham purush was born and from him maya got created then mahatatva, then ahankaar and from ahankaar, Shiv, Brahma and Vishnu appeared.
To experience the essence of this sampraday which is RAS, one needs to keep ones heart gentle, tender and supple. Keeping the heart soft and gentle, one should meditate on Sri Priya Pritam and their loving activities with complete love and devotion. And with the blessings of ones guru one will surely become a part of Nikunj.

This is explained by Sri Bhagwat Rasik ji as follows:

Nityabihari ki kala pratham purush avtaar,
Tasu ansh maya bhayi, Jako sakal pasaar.
Jaako sakal pasaar,mahatatva upjayo jaate,
Ahankaar utpatti bhayi, shruti kahe ju taate.
Ahankaar trai roop bhayo, Shiv,Vidhi asurari.
Bhagwat sabko tatva beej, Sri Nitayabihari.

Laakh baar hari hari kahe, ek baar Haridas,
Ati prasan Sri Ladili, sadaa Nikunj ko vaas.

Jite saans naasaa chale, tite jape Haridas,
Tan man pranani yo mile, jyo phoolani mein baas.

Rasik ananayani ko path banko.
Ja path ko let mahamuni, mundat nain gahe nit nako.
Ja path ko pachitat hain ved, lahe nahi bhed rahe jaki jaako.
So path Sri Haridas lahyo, ras reeti ki preeti chalai nisanko.
Nisanani bajat gajat govind, rasik ananyani ko path banko.

Rasik ananya Haridas ju, gayo nitya bihar,
Seva mein doori kiye, vidhi nishedh janjaar.
Saghan nikunjani rahat din, baadhyo adhik sneh,
Ek bihari het lagi, chaadi diye sukh deh.
Rank chatrapati duhni ki, dhari na man parvah,
Rahe bheeji ras madhuri, leene kar karvah.

Sri Radha gun gaan kare jamuna asnan kare,
Jamuna jal paan kare vaas Vrindavan ko.
Rasikini ko sang kare kar karvah gudar gare,
Prem ang ang bhare nem yahi pan ko.
Vaasi nirdosh rahe madhukar ki vriti gahe,
Kaam krodh lobh dahe mohadik tan ko.
Sri Bhagwat ih bhaati base indri man jugti kase,
Nainani jug roop lase vilse sukh dhan ko.

Sri Bhagwat Rasik Ji has described the seven steps to reach Nikunj

Pratham sune Bhagwat, bhaktmukh bhagwat vaani,
First, listen to Sri Bhagwat Katha,& Sri Bhagwat Gita from a pure devotee

Dvitiya araadhe bhakti, Vyas nav bhaati bakhani.
Second, practice the Navdah bhakti as stated by Sri Vyas Ji

Tritiya kare guru samujhi, daksh sarvagya rasilo,
Third, surrender unto the lotus feet of a rasik guru

Chauthe hoi virakt, base vanraj jasilo.
Fourth, renounce the worldly pleasure and live in the holy land of Vrindavan

Panche bhule deh nij, chathe bhavana raas ki,
Fifth, one should forget the distinction of male and female body & Sixth aspire for raaslila

Saate paave reeti ras Sri Swami Haridas ki.
Seventh, one will become a part of the Swamiji's ras reeti