The Hlādinī Potency

Radha and Krishna

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Here is a new word for your vaisnava vocabulary; hlādinī .  As I was reading from the Caitanya-caritamrta this morning, this word hlādinī was used to describe the pleasure potency of the Lord.  Now keep in mind, that this is all way over my head, but still as an aspiring devotee, I am interested in developing  “Love of God”.  So I find all of Srila Prabhupada’s writings to be wonderfully beneficial.

 

…Hlādinī is the personal manifestation of the blissfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by which He enjoys pleasure… When the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is exhibited by His grace in the person of a devotee, that manifestation is called love of God. “Love of God” is an epithet for the pleasure potency of the Lord. Therefore devotional service reciprocated between the Lord and His devotee is an exhibition of the transcendental pleasure potency of the Lord.  (from purport to Adi 4.60)

 

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Ādi-līlā
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Chapter 4, Text 59-60

TEXT 59

rādhikā hayena kṛṣṇera praṇaya-vikāra

svarūpa-śakti–’hlādinī’ nāma yāṅhāra

SYNONYMS

rādhikā—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; hayena—is; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; praṇaya-vikāra—transformation of love; svarūpa-śakti—personal energy; hlādinīhlādinī; nāma—name; yāṅhāra—whose.

TRANSLATION

Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the transformation of Kṛṣṇa’s love. She is His internal energy called hlādinī.

TEXT 60

hlādinī karāya kṛṣṇe ānandāsvādana

hlādinīra dvārā kare bhaktera poṣaṇa

SYNONYMS

hlādinī—the hlādinī energy; karāya—causes to do; kṛṣṇe—in Lord Kṛṣṇa; ānanda-āsvādana—the tasting of bliss; hlādinīra dvārā—by the pleasure potency; kare—does; bhaktera—of the devotee; poṣaṇa—nourishing.

TRANSLATION

That hlādinī energy gives Kṛṣṇa pleasure and nourishes His devotees.

PURPORT

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has elaborately discussed the hlādinī potency in his Prīti-sandarbha. He says that the Vedas clearly state, “Only devotional service can lead one to the Personality of Godhead. Only devotional service can help a devotee meet the Supreme Lord face to face. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is attracted by devotional service, and as such the ultimate supremacy of Vedic knowledge rests in knowing the science of devotional service.”

What is the particular attraction that makes the Supreme Lord enthusiastic to accept devotional service, and what is the nature of such service? The Vedic scriptures inform us that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is self sufficient, and that māyā, nescience, can never influence Him at all. As such, the potency that overcomes the Supreme must be purely spiritual. Such a potency cannot be anything of the material manifestation. The bliss enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be of material composition like the impersonalist conception of the bliss of Brahman. Devotional service is reciprocation between two, and therefore it cannot be located simply within one’s self. Therefore the bliss of self-realization, brahmānanda, cannot be equated with devotional service.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has three kinds of internal potency, namely, the hlādinī-śakti, or pleasure potency, the sandhinī-śakti, or existential potency, and the samvit-śakti, or cognitive potency. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa(1.12.69) the Lord is addressed as follows: “O Lord, You are the support of everything. The three attributes hlādinī, sandhinī and samvit exist in You as one spiritual energy. But the material modes, which cause happiness, misery and mixtures of the two, do not exist in You, for You have no material qualities.”

Hlādinī is the personal manifestation of the blissfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by which He enjoys pleasure. Because the pleasure potency is perpetually present in the Supreme Lord, the theory of the impersonalist that the Lord appears in the material mode of goodness cannot be accepted. The impersonalist conclusion is against the Vedic version that the Lord possesses a transcendental pleasure potency. When the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is exhibited by His grace in the person of a devotee, that manifestation is called love of God. “Love of God” is an epithet for the pleasure potency of the Lord. Therefore devotional service reciprocated between the Lord and His devotee is an exhibition of the transcendental pleasure potency of the Lord.

The potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that always enriches Him with transcendental bliss is not material, but the Śaṅkarites have accepted it as such because they are ignorant of the identity of the Supreme Lord and His pleasure potency. Those ignorant persons cannot understand the distinction between impersonal spiritual bliss and the variegatedness of the spiritual pleasure potency. The hlādinīpotency gives the Lord all transcendental pleasure, and the Lord bestows such a potency upon His pure devotee.

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