Bhavavesh (An expanded stage of DIVINE LOVE)
Bhavavesh is an expanded stage of Divine love when the lave of the Gopi's (associate) heart evolves into many interlaced ecstatic states. At this stage she experiences a refined and matured Bliss of milan and virah.
As Krishn Himself is Divine love, so according to the evolved stage of love in Bhavavesh,Krishn's charm, sweetness, beauty and attraction also expands. Although Krishn is always the same, the experience of His virtues, love and beauty multiplies at different stages of Bhavavesh.
Bhavaveshalso occurs in the conscious state, when (with open eyes) the rasikSaint (or Gopi) sees, enjoys and plays with Krishn and experiences separation when He disappears. This class of ecstatic state is called jagrit samadhi
The feelings of virah and milanalways remain in the heart ofGopi, but in Bhavavesh, they are deepened. In the profound experience of separation, the whole world becomes the form of Krishn, and in this experience of meeting, Krishn appears in front of a Gopi. It so happens that when the love (Krishn love) of a Gopi's heart dilates into auniversal form, every atom of the world becomes the form ofKrislin and stir experiences an expanded feeling of meeting (milan), but she also experiences separation, because the `personified' form disappears.
In personal meeting, a feeling of future separation remains, and in separation, the expanded form of meeting is experienced. In this way, both the feelings of meeting and separation are found in both the situations of personal meeting with Krishn and in separation from Him. Both these stages alternatively multiply the Bliss of love.
The stages of Bhao or Bhavaveshare the natural and stable stages of Divine love. The pastimes and the leelas (plays) of Krishn, the Gopis and other Brajwasis(the citizen of town Braj, where krishn plays) which we read about in the Bhagwatam (the holy divine book) and other books written by various rasik Saints were conducted on the visual plane of this material world during the appearance of Krishn. So, the Gopis' expressions of sorrowful separation and joyous meeting with Krishn, were in addition to their natural experience of Bhavavesh. Being ignorant of the secrets of Divine love, we apply our material minds to the leelas of Krishn and the Gopis.
We should now understand, that:
(a) The Divine love power, on its mono-dualistic plane, itself appears as a self-perceived object of Divine love in an ever new and ever increasing charm. The Divine love, which always abides in the heart of a Gopi, divulges and unfolds itself into many inter-ecstatic stages of Bhavavesh and is the real glory of Krishn love. This is the highest experience of Divine love which is experienced by the Gopis.
(b) Divine love itself appears as a desire in the hearts of the Gopis to please and to serve Krishn with their body, mind and soul, because they have nothing to think of except Krishn. This feeling responds to an assimilated feeling in the heart of their Beloved which becomes the cause of Divine leelas, where the expressions of milan and virah are the twofold manifestations of Krishn love.
(c) Desires, emotions and the feelings of meeting and separation of the Gopis are the various manifestations of the playful nature of Divine love, introduced by Krishn Himself. Thus, Krishn is the `giver' as well as the `enjoyer' of His own love in all His leelas with the Gopis and His associates.
We should see what the Bhagwatam says.
Krishn is the belovedof the Gopis and Heloves them all, so, with a will to enrich and give the fullest experience of Divine love Bliss, He, with His naughty actions, awakens and develops the desire of meeting in their hearts and gives them separation (viyog). He says to the Gopis,in chapter 10 of Bhagwatam
"A greedy person rejoices when he receives great wealth. If suddenly he loses it, he feels sad and every moment he remembers the previously enjoyed pleasures of his lost wealth.In the same way, I give you separation, so that your mind may be engrossed in My love and you can enjoy more Bliss in My meeting. I am your Beloved and you are My sweethearts, so I do such things because I wish to give you the utmost Bliss of love. It is My nature that I give My love to those who renounce everything for Me."
Further He says, "You have broken the unbreakable fetters of family life, given up everything for Me and loved Me with your heart and soul. You lived for Me but you desired nothing from Me, so I have become your debtor forever."
Who can imagine the fortune of such Gopis and who can fathom the love of those Gopis, who made Krishn their debtor?
To give the ultimate experience of Divine love to the Gopis, Krishn, during His appearance period, once provided them with the proper atmosphere and association to develop their feelings of separation pull the desire for meeting. Later, He poured the greatest bliss of Divine love into their hearts by His playful nets. All these activities are collectively called Maharas (maha means the greatest), which was the ultimate experience of the twofold sweetness of Divene love, virah and Milan and which, in the first instance, appeared as the music of His flute.
Krishn's flute is the Divine love melody which elevates the sweet feelings of meeting with Krishn, resulting in the sweeter experience of His association.
The conception of infinity cannot come into the finite minds of the worldly people, so how can they understand the stages of Bhao which are uncountable times higher and sweeter than Divine Bliss.
At the sweet sound of the flute, Gopis came running to Krishn, but He talked to them in a formal manner to increase their desire for meeting. In this way, He gave a lesson to the devotees that only those are qualified to enjoy the pleasure of ras who are completely detached from material and sensual attractions, and who have renounced their personal attachments for Krishn's sake. Again, with his playful nature, he gave them the pleasure of meeting and disappeared to excite their feelings of separation, so that in another meeting, they could realize the charm and beauty of Divine love in its full glory. These acts have been described in five chapters of the Bhagwatam which are actually the fivefold experiences of Divine sweetness, whose secrets are imperceptible even to those Saints who have not experienced the Divine love of Vrindaban bhao.
Through bhakti (Devotion) such stages, which are beyond human imagination, are also Graced by Krishn. The ever new and ever-increasing Bliss of Divine love, the stages of Bhao, the Divine leelas of Vrindaban, and the experiences of meeting and separation etc., are far beyond the imagination of human beings. They can be understood and experienced only by the Grace of Krishn.
In fact, I did not intend to write on gopi bhao at present, because the leelas (plays) of Krishn and Gopis, the stages of Bhao and ras, are all the subjects of adoration and reverence, not of intellectual understanding. By mere intellect it is impossible for even a pure-hearted person to understand these stages unless he is in the association of such a Saint who has already attained that stage. But in order to clarify the prevailing misunderstanding about Krishn leelas caused by listening to or reading the incorrect interpretations by different preachers and writers, I have given u brief introduction to gopi bhao. I believe that itwill help people to build a correct idea about Krishn(The divine form of God), Gopis(associates) and their leelas (plays).