Rupa Gosvamis theory of bhaktirasa uses and reworks the theory of the Natyasastra on rasas towards a devotional and religious context in which aesthetic delight is used to achieve union with Krsna. In the present missive, I will compare Rupa Gosvamis theory with the rasa theory of the Natyasastra and the model of and examine Radhas role as a model for devotion, contrasting this model with the models set forth by Jayadevas Gitagovinda and, later, by Jiva Gosvami and others . I will also explore the duality set forth by Rupa Gosvamis theory of krsna-rati as the supreme emotion in the quest to achieve the rasas he presents and the actual treatment of Radha and her role as an object of devotion within his plays. Our examination must first begin with a brief summary of Rupas theory. In his theory of bhaktirasa, Rupa delineates five primary modes (bhavas) through which the devotee may relate to Krishna: santa, contemplative adoration of the transcendent Lord; dasya, humble servitude to the divine master; sakhya, intimate companionship with the beloved friend; vatsalya, parental affection for the adorable child; and madhurya, passionate love for the supreme lover. (D.M. Wulff, A Sanskrit Portrait, Divine Consort, p. 28) This theory departs sharply from the Sanskrit theory of aesthetic enjoyment and moods evoked by drama, as presented in the Natyasastra. Several important notes must be made on this theory and its differences with previous rasa theories. The emphasis for Rupa is not on the ability of generic drama to lift one out of everyday experience; rather, he is deeply concerned with the means by which one may participate in the one Real Drama. (D. Haberman, Acting as a way of salvation, pp. 35-36) For Rupa and for the Gaudiya Vaisnava, salvation comes to be defined as an eternal participation in this absolute drama, (D. Haberman, Acting as a way of salvation, p. 36) true salvation is no…
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