“What is Prema?”
ou should understand that prema is the unadulterated function by which two transcendental entities are spontaneously attracted to each other. Prema cannot occur without the separate existence of two transcendental entities. Krishna-prema, is the dharma by which all transcendental entities are eternally attracted to the supreme transcendent Entity, Sri Krishna.
- Prema is love for Krishna, which is extremely concentrated, which completely melts the heart, and which gives rise to a deep sense of possessiveness, in relation to the Lord (this is the general definition of prema)
- When attachment, fondness for Krishna becomes firmly rooted and unchecked by any obstacle it is known as prema. When some cause arises, that could conceivably ruin the relationship between the lover and beloved and yet their bond remains completely unaffected, such an intimate loving relationship is known as When prema is augmented, it is gradually transformed into…
Pranaya: Emotions that prevent meeting freely, although they are together, and attracted to each other.
Raga: A deep attachment, which is permeated by spontaneous and intense absorption in the object of one’s affection. The primary characteristic of raga is a deep and overpowering thirst for the object of one’s affection. The desire for water is called thirst. When the body is deprived of water, thirst arises; the greater the thirst, the greater the longing for water. When this thirst reaches the point that without water one can no longer maintain the body, it is known as an overpowering thirst. Similarly, when the loving thirst to please the object of one’s affection becomes so intense that in the absence of such service one is on the verge of giving up his life, it is known as räga.
Anuraga: Attachment in general. A specific stage in the development of prema, which has been defined, “Despite regularly meeting and being already well-acquainted with the beloved, an ever-fresh sentiment of intense attachment, causes the beloved to be newly experienced at every moment, as if one had never before any experience of such a person. The attachment, which inspires such a feeling, is known as Anuraga”.
The ideology of prema, rests on the eternally established truths that Krishna has His own eternal, separate existence, and that the jivas, have their own eternal, separate existence, following His leadership; and that this philosophical principle of prema is an eternally perfect truth. “Tattva” is a Sanskrit word meaning, thatness, principle, reality, or truth. The distinct presence of three separate ingredients– the one who relishes, the object of relish, and the act of relishing – is a fact.
We can say that absolute oneness is the same as prema, if we define absolute oneness, as the pure state of a transcendental entity, that has no relationship with insentient matter. This conception implies oneness in the sense that spiritual entities, have become one in their spiritual nature and function.
However, modern scholars who have adopted the doctrine of Sankara, are not satisfied with this idea,
and they have tried to establish that spiritual entities have themselves become indistinguishably the same substance.
In so doing, they have disregarded the true Vedic conception of non-distinction, and have propagated a distorted version in its place. Vaisnavas declare this philosophy to be opposed to the Vedas, because it denies the eternality of prema.
Sankaracarya described the state of non-distinction simply as the unadulterated condition of spiritual substance. However, his modern-day followers could not understand his inner intention, and consequently they have stained their guru’s reputation by teaching a thoroughly debased doctrine known as Mayavada, which describes the various states of prema as illusory phenomena.
Mayavadis deny from the very outset that anything exists except the one spiritual substance (brahma), and they deny that the function of prema exists within that spiritual substance.
They claim that brahma is beyond the influence of maya, as long as it remains in a state of oneness. However, when that brahma is overwhelmed by maya, that brahma becomes embodied and takes on various shapes in the form of jivas. Consequently, they believe that the form of Bhagavan is an illusory manifestation. In reality, though, His form is eternally pure and constituted of concentrated consciousness. For this reason, they have concluded that prema and its various manifestations are illusory, and that the knowledge of non-duality is beyond the influence of maya. Their mistaken conception of oneness, can never be equated with prema.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, instructed the world to taste prema, and He personally taught it by His transcendental behavior and activities. This prema is completely beyond the jurisdiction of maya, and it is the highest development of the unalloyed state of perfect oneness. The state known as mahabhava is a special transformation of this prema, in which spiritual bliss, ecstasy, joy, and happiness of prema is extraordinarily powerful. Consequently, both the separateness and intimate relationship of the lover and the beloved are transported to an unprecedented state. The inconsequential theory of Mayavada is useless for understanding the subject matter of prema in any of its stages.
Therefore, one should now understand that unadulterated Krishna-prema constitutes the only vaisnava-dharma. This love for Krishna, is the nitya-dharma of the jivas, and it is complete, pure, and natural.
Dharma is only one, not two, or many. The jivas have only one dharma, and it is known as vaisnava-dharma. Differences of language, country, or race cannot create differences in dharma. Jaiva-dharma is the constitutional function of the jiva.
People may give it different names, but they cannot create a different constitutional function. Jaiva-dharma is the unadulterated spiritual love, that the infinitesimal entity has for the Infinite Entity. It appears to become distorted into various mundane forms, because the jivas possess different material natures. That is why the name vaisnava-dharma, has been given to identify the pure form of Jaiva-dharma. The degree of vaisnava-dharma, in any religion or dharma, is a measure of its purity.