Rasika Vaishnavas are exalted saints who have achieved the stage of prema-bhakti. They have elevated themselves to the asakti (attachment to the Lotus Feet of Krishna and Radharani) stage by their own endeavour of lalsa (desire), lobha (greed) and desperation to attain topmost spiritual perfection, and then achieved the stage of complete prema-bhakti by kripa (mercy) of Divine Couple Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.
There are eight stages of bhakti as described in Madhurya Kadambini by Srila Vishwanatha Chakravarti Thakur Prabhupada. The eight stages of bhakti are as follows:
- Shraddha: Having faith in the spiritual process of chanting the Holy Names in the form of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
- Sadhu Sanga: Associating with saints (or devotees of Lord) through recorded lectures, books or in-person and listening to their instructions for advancement in bhakti (spiritual life)
- Bhajan Kriya: Chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, following 4 regulative principles and doing spiritual activities that are favorable in bhakti.
- Anartha Nivritti: More chanting of holy names until and unless the anarthas or negative qualities in form of lust, greed, anger are destroyed from the cit (consciousness).
- Asakti: Always remembering about Vrindavan, holy name, rupa (form), guna (qualities), lila (passtimes) of Sri Radha and Krishna. Even if the mind or the thought goes at other places, the devotee immediately brings it back to Vrindavan and holy name. A devotee can reach this stage by own effort and desperation. From the next stage onwards, it can only be achieved by kripa (mercy) of Rasika Vaishnavas and Divine Couple.
- Ruchi: Tremendous attachment, interest, taste in holy names and inner confidential passtimes of Krishna.
- Bhav: The thickened form of ruchi where there is an intense longing to be there in the nitya-lilas of Lordships in original form. The devotee is always in lila chintan or thinking about passtimes of Krishna and at such stage, the devotee is literally not aware of the outer world.
- Prema: Fully spiritually realised as an eternal soul and eternal servant of Krishna and Radharani in one of 5 rasas.
At prema level, the devotee realises their complete spiritual identity and attains sthayi (fixed) bhav. At this level, the devotee no longer recognises himself or herself as a body but as an eternal spirit soul.
Only Rasika Vaishnavas are true bonafide guru who can give prema-bhakti and treasure of Vrindavan Prema Rasa to others. Else, it will be mishrit (adulterated) and not serve or empower their disciples to the true vraja-prema-rasa.
Rasika Vaishnavs are no more human, saints, male, female or even god. They are now eternal constitutional part of Krishna and serving the Divine Couple in Nitya-Goloka Vrindavan in their spiritual identity (swarup).
Aindra Prabhu in one of his lecture states at one place that Rasika Vaishnavas are one who are always in rasa (or absorbed in sweet nectarian passtimes of Krishna). Their true spiritual identity and service have been revealed to them by kripa (mercy) of Divine Couple.
Nobody is allowed in nivritta nikunj Vrindavan (inner groves of Vrindavan) except for Rasika Vaishnavas in madhurya bhav, which can be easily obtained to us Kali Yuga souls by simply chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the inner confidential treasure of Rasika Vaishnavas. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than Krishna in the mood of Radharani and had appeared 500 years ago in Mayapur to distribute love of Godhead, has given it to all for free in the form of Hare Krishna Mahamantra!!!
In all ages (Satya Yuga, Treata Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga) and in the day of Brahma (8 billion 640 million earthly years as stated in Srimad Bhagavatam 6th Canto, 13th Chapter), this is the golden time to revive the love for Godhead. It is very easy and it is a very very blissful process indeed. There might be apparent external trouble for the seeker but their internal consciousness is relishing the mellows of Vrindavan Prema Rasa and it is something only those who are there (by kripa or mercy of Vrindavan Dham) can understand.
It requires one to sincerely chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra to understand the inner meaning of Rasika Vaishnavas.
Srila Prabhupada has mentioned in one lecture that the Six Goswamis led by Srila Rupa Goswami used to live like mendicants in Vrindavan but always were there in remembrance of gopis, Krishna and Radharani. One needs to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and everything will be revealed.
P.S. I try to make a humble attempt to write here for my own meditation onto my Sri Vrindavan Dham and strictly not for others (as mentioned in About Section). Use your inner consciousness and references to decode and analyse the article for your own individual spiritual advancement.
Jai Jai Shri Radhe!
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