Laughing Devotion

Laughter from the Vyasasana

I saw this picture of Srila Prabhupada laughing and thought; I have to do a post on laughter. So I did a search and came up with some very nice verses on laughing attachment to Kṛṣṇa.

“With devotion steeped in love and affection, the yogī should meditate within the core of his heart upon the laughter of Lord Viṣṇu. The laughter of Viṣṇu is so captivating that it can be easily meditated upon. (SB 3.28.33)

…It is recommended that the yogī visualize the laughter of the Lord after studying His smile very carefully. (from purport)

…In a direct relationship of conjugal love, there is laughter.

After He had stolen some curd from the pots of two gopīs, Kṛṣṇa told one of His gopī friends: “My dear beautiful friend, I can take oath that I have not stolen even a drop of curd from your pot! But still, your friend, Rādhārāṇī, is very shamelessly smelling the flavor of My mouth. Kindly forbid Her from this devious policy of putting Her face near Mine.” When Kṛṣṇa was speaking like this, the friends of Rādhārāṇī could not check their laughter. This is an instance of ecstasy in conjugal love. (Nectar of Devotion Chapter 33)

…When a smiling person claps his hands and leaps in the air, the smiling expression changes into atihasita, or overwhelming laughter. An example of atihasita was manifested in the following incident: Kṛṣṇa once addressed Jaratī thus: “My dear good woman, the skin of your face is now slackened, and so your face exactly resembles a monkey’s. As such, the King of the monkeys, Balīmukha, has selected you as his worthy wife.” While Kṛṣṇa was teasing Jaratī in this way, she replied that she was certainly aware of the fact that the King of the monkeys was trying to marry her, but she had already taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa, the killer of many powerful demons, and therefore she had already decided to marry Kṛṣṇa instead of the King of the monkeys. On hearing this sarcastic reply by the talkative Jaratī, all the cowherd girls present there began to laugh very loudly and clap their hands. This laughter, accompanied by the clapping of hands, is called atihasita.

Sometimes there are indirect sarcastic remarks which also create atihasita circumstances. An example of one such remark was made by one of the cowherd girls to Kuṭilā, the daughter of Jaṭilā and sister of Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī. Indirectly Kuṭilā was insulted by the following statement:

“My dear Kuṭilā, daughter of Jaṭilā, your breasts are as long as string beans-simply dry and long. Your nose is so gorgeous that it is defying the beauty of the noses of frogs. And your eyes are more beautiful than the eyes of dogs. Your lips are defying the flaming cinders of fire, and your abdomen is as beautiful as a big drum. Therefore, my dear beautiful Kuṭilā, you are the most beautiful of all the cowherd girls of Vṛndāvana, and because of your extraordinary beauty, I think you must be beyond the attraction of the sweet blowing of Kṛṣṇa’s flute!” (Nectar of Devotion Chapter 45)

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto Three, Chapter 28, Text 33

dhyānāyanaṁ prahasitaṁ bahulādharoṣṭha-
bhāsāruṇāyita-tanu-dvija-kunda-paṅkti
dhyāyet svadeha-kuhare ’vasitasya viṣṇor
bhaktyārdrayārpita-manā na pṛthag didṛkṣet

dhyāna-ayanam—easily meditated upon; prahasitam—the laughter; bahula—abundant; adhara-oṣṭha—of His lips; bhāsa—by the splendor; aruṇāyita—rendered rosy; tanu—small; dvija—teeth; kunda-paṅkti—like a row of jasmine buds; dhyāyet—he should meditate upon; sva-deha-kuhare—in the core of his heart; avasitasya—who resides; viṣṇoḥ—of Viṣṇu; bhaktyā—with devotion; ārdrayā—steeped in love; arpita-manāḥ—his mind being fixed; na—not; pṛthak—anything else; didṛkṣet—he should desire to see.

TRANSLATION

With devotion steeped in love and affection, the yogī should meditate within the core of his heart upon the laughter of Lord Viṣṇu. The laughter of Viṣṇu is so captivating that it can be easily meditated upon. When the Supreme Lord is laughing, one can see His small teeth, which resemble jasmine buds rendered rosy by the splendor of His lips. Once devoting his mind to this, the yogī should no longer desire to see anything else.

PURPORT

It is recommended that the yogī visualize the laughter of the Lord after studying His smile very carefully. These particular descriptions of meditation on the smile, laughter, face, lips and teeth all indicate conclusively that God is not impersonal. It is described herein that one should meditate on the laughter or smiling of Viṣṇu. There is no other activity that can completely cleanse the heart of the devotee. The exceptional beauty of the laughter of Lord Viṣṇu is that when He smiles His small teeth, which resemble the buds of jasmine flowers, at once become reddish, reflecting His rosy lips. If the yogī is able to place the beautiful face of the Lord in the core of his heart, he will be completely satisfied. In other words, when one is absorbed in seeing the beauty of the Lord within himself, the material attraction can no longer disturb him.

Also;

Similarly, hāsya, adbhuta, vīra, karuṇa, raudra, bhaya and bībhatsa-the seven indirect mellows-are explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. The hāsya-bhakti-rasa, laughing devotion, is explained as follows (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 4.1.6):

vakṣyamāṇair vibhāvādyaiḥ
puṣṭiṁ hāsa-ratir gatā
hāsya-bhakti-raso nāma
budhair eṣa nigadyate

“When through devotional service a laughing attachment to Kṛṣṇa is developed, it is called hāsya-bhakti-rasa by learned scholars.”

And from the Nectar of Devotion;
Chapter Forty-five

Laughing Ecstasy

In the fourth division of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has described seven kinds of indirect ecstasies of devotional service-known as laughing, astonishment, chivalry, compassion, anger, dread and ghastliness. In this portion, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī further describes these ecstasies of devotional feelings, some being compatible and others incompatible with one another. When one kind of ecstatic devotional service overlaps with another in a conflicting way, this state of affairs is called rasābhāsa, or a perverted presentation of mellows.

Expert learned scholars say that laughing is generally found among youngsters or in the combination of old persons and young children. This ecstatic loving laughing is sometimes also found in persons who are very grave by nature. Once an old mendicant approached the door of Mother Yaśodā’s house, and Kṛṣṇa told Yaśodā, “My dear Mother, I don’t wish to go near this skinny villain. If I go there, he might put Me within his begging bag and take Me away from You!” In this way, the wonderful child, Kṛṣṇa, began to look at His mother, while the mendicant, who was standing in the door, tried to hide his smiling face, although he could not do so. He immediately expressed his smiling. In this instance, Kṛṣṇa Himself is the object of laughing affairs.

Once one of Kṛṣṇa’s friends informed Him, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, if You will open Your mouth, then I shall give You one nice sugar candy mixed with yogurt.” Kṛṣṇa immediately opened His mouth, but instead of giving Him sugar candy with yogurt, the friend dropped a flower in His mouth. After tasting this flower, Kṛṣṇa turned His mouth in a disfigured way, and upon seeing this all His friends standing there began to laugh very loudly.
Once a palmist came to the house of Nanda Mahārāj, and Nanda Mahārāj asked him, “My dear sage, will you kindly check the hand of my child, Kṛṣṇa? Tell me how many years He will live and whether He will become the master of thousands of cows.” Upon hearing this, the palmist began to smile, and Nanda Mahārāj asked him, “My dear sir, why are you laughing, and why are you covering your face?”

In such a laughing ecstasy of love, Kṛṣṇa or matters pertaining to Kṛṣṇa are the cause of the laughter. In such laughing devotional service, there are symptoms of jubilation, laziness, concealed feelings and similar other seemingly disturbing elements.
According to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s calculation, laughter in ecstatic love can be broken down into six divisions. These divisions, according to different degrees of smiling, are called in the Sanskrit language smita, hasita, vihasita, avahasita, apahasita, and atihasita. These six classes of smiling can be classified as major and minor. The major division includes smita, hasita and vihasita smiling, and the minor division includes avahasita, apahasita and atihasita smiling.
When one is smiling but his teeth are not visible, one can distinctly mark a definite change in the eyes and in the cheeks. This is called smita smiling. Once when Kṛṣṇa was stealing yogurt, Jaratī, the headmistress of the house, could detect His activities, and she was therefore coming very hurriedly to catch Him. At that time, Kṛṣṇa became very much afraid of Jaratī and went to His elder brother, Baladeva. He said, “My dear brother, I have stolen yogurt! Just see-Jaratī is coming hurriedly to catch Me!” When Kṛṣṇa was thus seeking the shelter of Baladeva because He was being chased by Jaratī, all the great sages in the heavenly planets began to smile. This smiling is called smita smiling.

Smiling in which the teeth are slightly visible is called hasita smiling. One day Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī, was returning home, and at that time he could not see that Kṛṣṇa was there in his house. Kṛṣṇa immediately changed His dress to look exactly like Abhimanyu and approached Abhimanyu’s mother, Jaṭilā, addressing her thus: “My dear mother, I am your real son Abhimanyu, but just see-Kṛṣṇa, dressed up like me, is coming before you!” Jaṭilā, the mother of Abhimanyu, immediately believed that Kṛṣṇa was her own son and thus became very angry at her real son who was coming home. She began to drive away her real son, who was crying, “Mother! Mother! What are you doing?” Seeing this incident, all the girl friends of Rādhārāṇī, who were present there, began to smile, and a portion of their teeth was visible. This is an instance of hasita smiling.

When the teeth are distinctly visible in a smile, that is called vihasita. One day when Kṛṣṇa was engaged in stealing butter and yogurt in the house of Jaṭilā, He assured His friends, “My dear friends, I know that this old lady is now sleeping very profoundly because she is breathing very deeply. Let us silently steal butter and yogurt without making any disturbance.” But the old lady, Jaṭilā, was not sleeping; so she could not contain her smiling, and her teeth immediately became distinctly visible. This is an instance of vihasita smiling.
In a state of smiling, when the nose becomes puffed and the eyes squint, the smiling is called avahasita. Once, early in the morning when Kṛṣṇa returned home after performing His rāsa dance, Mother Yaśodā looked upon Kṛṣṇa’s face and addressed Him thus: “My dear son, why do Your eyes look like they have been smeared with some oxides? Have You dressed Yourself with the blue garments of Baladeva?” When Mother Yaśodā was addressing Kṛṣṇa in that way, a girl friend who was nearby began to smile with a puffed nose and squinting eyes. This is an instance of avahasita smiling. The gopī knew that Kṛṣṇa had been enjoying the rāsa dance and that Mother Yaśodā could not detect her son’s activities or understand how He had become covered with the gopīs’ makeup. Her smiling was in the avahasita feature.

When tears from the eyes are added to the smiling and the shoulders are shaking, the smile is called apahasita. When child Kṛṣṇa was dancing in response to the singing of the old maidservant Jaratī, Nārada was astonished. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who controls all the movements of great demigods like Brahmā and others, was now dancing to the indications of an old maidservant. Seeing this fun, Nārada also began to dance, and his shoulders trembled, and his eyes moved. Due to his smiling, his teeth also became visible, and on account of the glaring effulgence from his teeth, the clouds in the skies turned silver.

When a smiling person claps his hands and leaps in the air, the smiling expression changes into atihasita, or overwhelming laughter. An example of atihasita was manifested in the following incident: Kṛṣṇa once addressed Jaratī thus: “My dear good woman, the skin of your face is now slackened, and so your face exactly resembles a monkey’s. As such, the King of the monkeys, Balīmukha, has selected you as his worthy wife.” While Kṛṣṇa was teasing Jaratī in this way, she replied that she was certainly aware of the fact that the King of the monkeys was trying to marry her, but she had already taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa, the killer of many powerful demons, and therefore she had already decided to marry Kṛṣṇa instead of the King of the monkeys. On hearing this sarcastic reply by the talkative Jaratī, all the cowherd girls present there began to laugh very loudly and clap their hands. This laughter, accompanied by the clapping of hands, is called atihasita.

Sometimes there are indirect sarcastic remarks which also create atihasita circumstances. An example of one such remark was made by one of the cowherd girls to Kuṭilā, the daughter of Jaṭilā and sister of Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī. Indirectly Kuṭilā was insulted by the following statement: “My dear Kuṭilā, daughter of Jaṭilā, your breasts are as long as string beans-simply dry and long. Your nose is so gorgeous that it is defying the beauty of the noses of frogs. And your eyes are more beautiful than the eyes of dogs. Your lips are defying the flaming cinders of fire, and your abdomen is as beautiful as a big drum. Therefore, my dear beautiful Kuṭilā, you are the most beautiful of all the cowherd girls of Vṛndāvana, and because of your extraordinary beauty, I think you must be beyond the attraction of the sweet blowing of Kṛṣṇa’s flute!”

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